Strong week at Muirfield would silence those who say McIlroy has lost his focusAlan BastableGULLANE, Scotland
-- His clubs. His swing. His putting. His globetrotting. His scheduling. His sponsor commitments. His tennis-star girlfriend. His management shakeup. His shortage of competitive reps. His failure to bow at Hogan's alter and wholly and completely turn himself over to the game.
The list of potential explanations for Rory McIlroy's disappointing play in 2013 has grown so exhaustive that there are seemingly no culprits left to blame (his new conditioner, anybody?). But McIlroy, who makes Jimmy Buffett look uptight, isn't ready to press the panic button -- not even close to ready.
"What's the big deal?" McIlroy said Wednesday at Muirfield, where he is preparing to make his sixth Open Championship start. "I haven't had the best six months. It's OK. I'm fine. I've got a good life. … Sooner or later, it'll turn around and I'll be back lifting trophies."
That's all well and good, and undoubtedly the right mindset for a 24-year-old with two majors titles on his resume and untold millions in his brokerage account. But in this win-often-or-risk-being-forgotten world, what-me-worry decrees don't sit well with the masses. Nick Faldo, the windy three-time Open champion, reminded McIlroy of that when earlier this week he suggested that the World No. 2 -- and former Faldo mentee -- isn't working hard enough.
"You have a 20-year window of opportunity as an athlete," Faldo said when asked about McIlroy's underwhelming play. "Concentrate on golf, nothing else." The six-time major winner added, "The most ideal preparation I can think is to go to the club at nine in the morning, hit balls all day long, and leave at five. You have to do that."
Read more: http://www.golf.com/tour-and-news/rory-mcilroy-hopes-find-his-game-british-open-2013-muirfield