Jack Nicklaus: Rory McIlroy will be firing at Masters

Jack Nicklaus believes Rory McIlroy is just suffering a temporary blip and will be fine by the time the Masters rolls around in April

Rory McIlroy

Jack Nicklaus believes Rory McIlroy is just suffering a temporary blip and will be fine by the time the Masters rolls around in April.

The 18-time major champion offered his backing after McIlroy walked off the course during the second round of Honda Classic, where he was seven over through eight holes.

He initially told reporters he was "not in a good place mentally" before issuing a statement citing a sore tooth as the reason behind his withdrawal.

The Ulsterman has made a dreadful start to the 2013 season, missing the cut in Abu Dhabi before crashing out to Shane Lowry in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Matchplay.

"Rory is so talented," Nicklaus told NBC Sports.

"He's a good kid. I think he's a little frustrated, and he's frustrated at himself right now.

"He's probably not playing his best, and he also has a set of golf clubs that he's having trouble getting used to, and one sort of plays off the other.

"He'll be fine. When the Masters rolls around, he'll be fine."

McIlroy admitted at the start of the week that his troubles stemmed from his technique, rather than his new clubs - an assertion supported by compatriot Graeme McDowell.

"Everyone is saying he can't do it with Nike equipment. This game is an extremely difficult sport, especially when you start playing for other people," McDowell told www.irishgolfdesk.com.

"To me it is not equipment, it is all technique and a little bit of belief inside his own head. He will be okay. He's a young and talented individual.

"To me he is not swinging the club the way he was late summer last year. but he'll get over it.

"He is one of the most talented players I have ever seen and once he starts believing in himself again he will be back."

McIlroy will be desperate to taste victory at the Masters, having suffered a painful final-round collapse in 2011.

Nick Bonfield joined Golf Monthly in 2012 after graduating from Exeter University and earning an NCTJ-accredited journalism diploma from News Associates in Wimbledon. He is responsible for managing production of the magazine, sub-editing, commissioning and feature writing. Most of his online work is opinion-based and typically centres around the Majors and significant events in the global golfing calendar. Nick has been an avid golf fan since the age of ten and became obsessed with the professional game after watching Mike Weir and Shaun Micheel win The Masters and PGA Championship respectively in 2003. In his time with Golf Monthly, he's interviewed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Billy Horschel and has ghost-written columns for Westwood, Wayne Riley, Matthew Southgate, Chris Wood and Eddie Pepperell. Nick is a 12-handicap golfer and his favourite courses include Old Head, Sunningdale New, Penha Longha, Valderrama and Bearwood Lakes. If you have a feature pitch for Nick, please email nick.bonfield@futurenet.com with 'Pitch' in the subject line. Nick is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade M1 Fairway wood: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Hybrid: Ping Crossover Irons (4-9): Nike Vapor Speed Wedges: Cleveland CBX Full Face, 56˚, Titleist Vokey SM4, 60˚ Putter: testing in progress! Ball: TaylorMade TP5x