Former major winners at the British Senior Open have raised their eyebrows on the dislike and unwillingness of Rory McIlroy to adapt to links golf.
Ian Woosnam, Ryder Cup winning captain and former Masters champion was surprised and critical of McIlroy’s attitude which was even broadcasted to the media.
McIlroy looked rusty less than a month after his stellar performance and victory during the US Open at Washington’s Congressional Golf Club. His 74 and 73 closing rounds at the Royal St. George’s links in South England, which led to an unimpressive 25th place finish, were disappointing
The golf-wise observers became more surprised when McIlroy told the media that he did not enjoy golf links where “The outcome is predicted so much by the weather,” and added that he saw “no point in changing your game for one week a year.”
Wossnam reportedly said: “He’s only a young kid, he’s going to say the wrong things every now and then and he’s probably now thinking, ‘What the hell have I said.’
“Of course, to be a true golfer, you have to be able to play around the world, play in different kind of golf conditions. Tiger (Woods) adapted, (Jack) Nicklaus adapted, (Arnold) Palmer adapted. They all adapted. He needs to adapt. At his age he’s got the ability to do whatever he wants to do.”
McIlroy’s attitude towards golf was also criticized by Zimbabwe’s Nick Price who learned how to play golf on Central Africa’s parkland courses. The two-time US PGA Championships winner, who also won The Open at Turnberry in 1994 made it a point to master links conditions.
“He has to get his mind-set right for that. He’s going to have 20 or 30 Open Championships in his career and he doesn’t want to have that attitude
“He’d better get out there and start liking those courses and figure out a way to play.
“If he’s a good enough player, he will do that. Every great player adapts to the conditions. He may not like it as much as playing on parkland courses but he will learn, I guarantee it.”
The 61-year old American Tom Watson, who won The Open five times however showed more understanding for McIlroy, saying he had been there, so he understands how McIlroy feels.
“Honestly, he sounded like I did when I was his age playing links golf. I did not like links golf. I did not like the bounce. I did not like the firmness of the greens, and the wind so much, and I didn’t like the uncertainty,” Watson said.
“When I hit a shot the way I thought it should go, it should stop. In American golf, it stops where you want it.
“He’ll change. He’ll get to a point where he’ll understand the difficulties in the way that you have to manage yourself on links golf courses.”
“Four. It just so happened I won two of them,” was Watson’s reply when asked how long it took him to get into links golf.
Woosnam also believes McIlroy will have a change of heart.
“I think it’s difficult for the kid. Everyone was comparing him to Tiger Woods, but at the end of the day he’s only won three tournaments. And one of them was a major,” Woosnam said.
“I think we’ve got to ease off on the kid. He’s got to develop.”