A colourful pep talk turned Rory McIlroy's Master Friday from a horror show to a story with hope
Rory McIlroy’s Jekyll and Hyde Masters Performance On Friday 13th
Friday The 13th at Rory McIlroy’s 12th Masters seemed to be a microcosm of all those previous visits.
He began it in relatively bizarre circumstances, facing a bunker shot from beside the 10th green while playing partner Dustin Johnson was still halfway down the fairway, and a couple of hours later he seemed to be in disarray.
The drive at 13 signalled the start of his demise and the only difference to 2011 was that we now had a Shot Tracer to show quite how wild it was.
A bogey there was followed by another at 14 and, while his second to 15 was in mid air, he was shouting at it to sit.
It landed right in the middle of the green, Rory’s feel and mojo was off.
There was more self commentary when he described his tee shot as ‘so bad’ but this time he was spot on as it didn’t even threaten to stay out of the water.
A back nine of 39 and round in 75 for his worst start in Masters history.
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At lunch we watched him hit balls, everybody had an opinion on what was wrong and, yet again, we all wrote him off, certainly for this year and, for some, the rest of time.
In a poll on our forum over 50 per cent put the Masters dilemma down to his thinking.
“It’s a combination of being out of form when he arrives and a touch much pressure on himself. It’s a course where you need to be on the right side of the pin and his short game at the moment is too inconsistent and he puts himself in the wrong place too many times. He also doesn’t seem to be able to grind when needed,” said forum member Liverpoolphil. “It wouldn’t surprise me to see him go round in 65 in the second round.”
Within one hole it all seemed so different as an enormous 3-wood and short iron to the 10th, probably not a hole that holds too many great memories, to set up his first birdie at a par 4.
He took care of three of the par 5s and there were no penalty drops. By the end of a particularly mixed day, even by McIlroy’s standards, he was round in 66. Other than an opening 65 in 2011 he’s never played Augusta better.
“I’ve been playing so good coming in here, I practised so well for a couple of weeks, I played so good in the practice rounds and just sort of out of nowhere came the 75,” he explained afterwards.
“I knew it was in there, I just needed to trust and commit a little bit more, I was maybe being a little bit careful and a little bit guidey with some shots so I hit some shots on the range between rounds, I was just trying to fully release the club and be a bit more trusting with it and it was a lot better in the afternoon.
“Jimmy Dunne (the president at Seminole) gave me a pep talk in between rounds going on to the range. It was colourful. I hit five 9-irons and one 3-wood so those six shots seemed to turn it around.”
Gone were the worries over his spin control and lack of grit and, once again, most of us are now dreaming about the unlikeliest of comebacks.
“Hopefully I’ve got my eye in and I’ll need something similar over the weekend to give myself a chance.”
We look forward to see if Saturday 14th is as eventful as Friday 13th for McIlroy – Why not check what Bill Elliott think about Rory’s antics.
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