The former Ryder Cup captain said McIlroy has fallen behind Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas
McGinley Says McIlroy No Longer The Best Player
Rory McIlroy, despite his four year major drought, is largely considered as the world's finest golfer 'when he's on'.
The Northern Irishman has won four majors, is a global star and has one of the best looking golf swings of all time - but former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGingley believes that he has fallen behind his American counterparts, particularly with his wedges and putter.
Speaking to Irish news outlet, Off The Ball (opens in new tab), McGinley said, “Golf is a simple game in very many ways. Yes, it’s important to be able to hit the ball a long way, but you have got to have the scoring clubs. You have got to be absolutely fantastic with the scoring clubs."
He then described McIlroy's wedge play and putting as "average" compared to the world's top three players.
“Look at Dustin Johnson with his wedges, Brooks Koepka with his putter, and Justin Thomas the same. These guys are fabulous – absolutely fabulous. Rory is only average. Sometimes the putting is good, but the wedge play is not great. Then the wedge play is not so bad, but the putting is off. Those scoring clubs are absolutely paramount, for a start."
McIlroy has undoubtedly struggled with his scoring clubs in recent years, evidence in the fact that he has won just once since the start of 2017.
When he last won a major, at the 2014 USPGA Championship, Brooks Koepka was ranked in the 70s yet is now world number 2 and has three majors. Dustin Johnson was still majorless at that time and he now has a US Open trophy in his cabinet and continues to reign supreme as world number one.
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Justin Thomas was hovering around the 200th in the world mark when McIlroy won his final major to date. Now, four years on, he has won nine PGA Tour titles and one major at the 2017 USPGA.
He has also spent four weeks as the world's number one player.
McGinley says both Koepka, Johnson and Thomas are better than McIlroy.
“The other thing is that this perception that if Rory plays his best, then he wins," McGinley continued.
"That is not applicable any more. There are three guys that are better than Rory, if they are on their game – Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson.
"They have that extra gear that Rory used to have. Like Tiger having to box clever, Rory has to box clever – he’s coming up to 30 years of age. You have three guys that can hit the ball just as far and just as straight as him, and have just as much ability to perform under pressure as Rory has had. “
To listen to McGinley's interview with Off The Ball click here (opens in new tab).
Do you think McIlroy is the best player when he plays his best? Or have the likes of DJ, Koepka and Thomas overtaken him?
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Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-6. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Titleist TSR4
3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max
Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max
Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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