Jack Nicklaus and Colin Montgomerie, former Ryder Cup skipper of US Open champion Rory Mcllroy, took opposing views when it comes to the latter’s preparations for The Open Championship.
A “warm-up” event is not needed by Mcllroy before net week’s Sandwich according to Nicklaus but this was debunked by Montgomerie who questioned the champion’s preparation.
“I can understand having two out of three weeks off, but I would like to have seen Rory play a competitive tournament between the two majors,” said Montgomerie.
No major has ever been won by the Scot in contrast to Mcllroy who already have one to his name at the beginning of his career. Mcllroy will prepare for The Open the same way he prepared for the US Open preparation.
Mcllroy, who has established himself as golf’s new superstar with his eight-shot victory, has made two trips to Wimbledon and attended several sponsors’ days since he won. He has also witnessed the David Haye and Wladimir Klitscho heavyweight title fight in Hamburg.
He was supposed to play in the French Open last week but changed his plan after his victory. While Montgomerie thinks he should have entered Barclay’s Scottish Open or stuck to his original plan, he is however not worried about Mcllroy’s game rusting.
“Rory’s so natural I don’t think there are any fears about his game,” said Montgomerie. “But it’s the locker room. There will so many people wanting to congratulate him, wanting to talk to him.
“That’s bloody tiring. Whether it was the French or the Scottish Open he could have got that out of his system, so he could start The Open afresh.
“Now he’s got all that ahead of him and by the time he gets to the first tee, I think he will be mentally tired,” Montgomerie added.
“But who am I to say?”
Mcllroy does not plan to play until Wednesday and has decided to stay away from the course until Tuesday afternoon, after the two-day reconnaissance this week on the Kent.
Padraig Harrington, who was talking with Montgomerie during the launch of the HSBC Ultimate Open 18, believes Mcllroy should brace himself for a hectic time when he arrives.
“Whenever you win and you go onto the next tournament there are 155 other players and 155 other caddies who want to say ‘well done,’” said the three-time major winner.
“Everyone will want a conversation. That will be an issue for him.”
Montgomerie and Harrington are already in Inverness for the Scottish Open, where the former needs a top-five finish to qualify for the Sandwich.
“I haven’t missed an Open in 22 years. I’m in the last chance saloon,” he said.
Chubby Chandler, Mclrroy’s agent, said Sandwich next week may not be to his client’s liking.
“I would say Rory might find the Open quite difficult,” he said.
“You might find him struggle at St George’s, it’s not his sort of golf.
“Firm and bouncy with a bit of wind wouldn’t be ideal for him, but I would say watch out for him at Atlanta (in the USPGA).
“That’ll suit him down to the ground. If it was flat calm at the Open, Rory would have a chance, but it probably won’t be. Lee Westwood won’t be far away again, I’m certain.”
Mcllroy is not only busy preparing for his first major after winning one recently but is also faced with the challenge of managing expectations and getting used to being a major champion which could both present an identity issue. Chandler is however confident that Mcllroy’s unique personality will handle them well.
“You learn from mistakes that happened with people like Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke,” he said.
“It’s a thing called experience and he seems to have a lot of it now.”