Tuesday, September 23, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

On Golf: McIlroy will emerge even stronger than ever

By
July 23, 2014 |

HOYLAKE, England — The celebration began long before Rory McIlroy had a chance to drink out of the claret jug.

McIlroy was upstairs in the clubhouse at Royal Liverpool for the traditional toast with the R&A, unable to ignore the chants below from club members waiting for a glimpse of the British Open champion.

“Rory! Rory! Rory!”

It was a raucous scene for a club that starts with “Royal,” but such is the personality of Liverpool. The members booed anyone who came down the stairs who did not have curly brown hair, freckles and a claret jug. And their cheers shook the brick clubhouse when Boy Wonder finally descended with the oldest trophy in golf.

The scene was so much different a year ago.

McIlroy stood on a podium in a makeshift tent outside Muirfield, speaking to reporters with a vacant look in those brown eyes. He had just opened with a 79, his worst start ever in a major in what was shaping up as a year to forget. He had no idea what was wrong with him or his game.

“Sometimes I feel like I’m walking around out there and I’m unconscious,” he said that day. “I just need to try to think more. I’m trying to focus and trying to concentrate but, yeah, I can’t really fathom it at the minute.

“I’m definitely under thinking on the golf course. Maybe overthinking off it.”

He looked lost.

Now he looks like the best player in golf. And odds are, the worst of times might lead to the best.

If he felt unconscious on the golf course a year ago, he looked unconscious at times at Royal Liverpool. His golf was simply explosive on Friday afternoon with two bursts of birdies, and plenty of chances in between, on his way to a 66. The defining moment of this championship was Saturday, when McIlroy went from a share of the lead to six shots clear in just over an hour. He made eagle on two of the last three holes with two mammoth drives, two pretty swings and two perfect putts.

Nothing came easily to McIlroy over the last 18 months.

He was criticized for swapping out equipment when he signed a megadeal with Nike. He showed his age when he quit in the middle of the Honda Classic and initially blamed it on a sore wisdom tooth. He changed agents for the second time, and lawsuits followed that are still to be decided in court. He got engaged to tennis player Caroline Wozniacki to start the new year, then broke it off with a telephone call in May.

And there he was on Sunday, introduced as the “champion golfer of the year,” his name etched in silver, his eyes gazing at all the names on that claret jug.

Asked for a low point during his struggles, McIlroy didn’t hesitate.

“This time last year,” he said.

Through it all, the 25-year-old from Northern Ireland never doubted he could return. He won the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship by eight shots. That wasn’t an accident. He won the money title on both sides of the Atlantic. There was never a question of his skill.

“It was just trying to find a way to make it come out again,” McIlroy said. “But yeah, definitely, missing the cut at Muirfield last year was a very low point. I never missed a cut at The Open before. I said to myself, ‘I’ll try to never make that happen again.’ It’s been huge what a difference a year makes. But it’s turned into a great year.”

And the tough times should only lead to better times.

Tom Watson knows that as well as anyone. He flopped badly in his first couple of shots at a major until he won the Open at Carnoustie in 1975, the first of eight majors and a career that ranks among the best. He played the British Open for the 37th time. Watson has seen a lot in his career, and failure piques his interest as much as success.

“He’s gone through a struggle with his golf game over a period of time,” Watson said of McIlroy. “And now it seems like he’s got it back. And you learn a lot from your failures. And he’ll come back stronger if you fail. I know it was a burden on him. The frustration was there with him. All golfers feel the same frustration. You’ve gone through the low spells. You’ve gone through the times where you couldn’t break an egg.

“And then finally, all of a sudden, the light switch will turn on … and it gets easy. That’s what happened to me many times in my career. And it seems like it’s happened to Rory.”

Where does McIlroy go from here? He has moved to No. 2 in the world behind Adam Scott. Even though the PGA Championship is three weeks away, his eyes already are looking ahead to Augusta National in April, a shot at the Masters to become only the sixth player to complete the career Grand Slam.

“When he’s in rhythm, he’s phenomenal,” Scott said. “He doesn’t have weaknesses and he has more strengths than most anyone else. When he’s in rhythm, you’ll see him shoot low numbers all the time.”

 

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

US / World

California wildfire crews brace for weather shift

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
LA County sheriff’s deputies testing body cameras

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Bear suspected to have killed New Jersey hiker

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Poll: Support for gay marriage may be leveling off

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Islamic State militants kill 40 Iraqi troops

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Sierra Leone, Liberia brace for new Ebola cases

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Islamist group kidnaps Frenchman in Algeria

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 3 Comments | Gallery

Pennsylvania governor confident ambush suspect will be caught

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Focus on UVa employee in student’s disappearance

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Prosecutor: 800 rounds found in intruder case

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment | Gallery

Islamic State offensive poses problems for Turkey

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Study links changing winds to warming in Pacific

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Crews work to clear debris from Shasta mudslide

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

Editorial cartoon for Sept. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page:

 
Academia needs to act to protect college women

By Dan K. Thomasson | From Page:

 
.

Living

Today in History: Sept. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Community Calendar: Sept. 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page:

 
Horoscopes: Sept. 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

Kris Jenner files to divorce Bruce Jenner

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Alaska TV reporter quits on air to promote pot

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Shonda Rhimes lays claim to Thursday nights on ABC

By Frazier Moore | From Page: | Gallery

 
Giuliani to help fight Noriega’s video game suit

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

‘The Lion King’ earns record box office

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Eric Lynch, Howard Stern’s diminutive foil, dies

By The Associated Press | From Page:

TVGrid Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Sports

Giants get closer, beat Dodgers 5-2 in 13 innings

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Prep boys water polo: Mustangs go 3-0 in Dixon tourney

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
Prep boys soccer: Mustangs hold Indians to 0-0 draw

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
MNF: Bears hold on to beat Jets 27-19

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Jeff Samardzija pitches A’s past Angels 8-4

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Nebraska’s Abdullah: Jameis Winston must grow up

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Raiders have to settle for moral victory

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Home of 49ers lineman Ray McDonald burglarized

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

Undisciplined play sends 49ers to 1-2 start

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Kicking game: It is called football, after all

By Barry Wilner | From Page:

US Soccer stands by Solo decision

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
FIFA ethics judge hesitates on World Cup

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Braves fire GM Frank Wren after missing playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Royals beat Indians 2-0, gain on Tigers

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Bettman says NHL proactive about off-ice conduct

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Silver: NBA will review domestic violence policies

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Concern over McIlroy, McDowell more about results

By The Associated Press | From Page:

NFL vetting process: There are no sure things

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Owner: ‘No misinformation’ by Ravens on Rice

By The Associated Press | From Page:

This date in sports history for Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Kent creates scholarship for Cal women’s athletics

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Business

Treasury to unveil steps to curb tax inversions

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Tesco suspends execs over inflated profit report

By The Associated Press | From Page:

GM expert says 21 deaths eligible for compensation

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Apple: 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sold

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

US existing home sales fall in August

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Investors fret Yahoo’s future, stock dips

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Businesses and investors pressing for green policy

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Garfield Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baby Blues Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Cryptoquote Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Beetle Bailey Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Crossword Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Bridge Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Frank and Ernest Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Rose is Rose Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sally Forth Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
B.C. Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Wizard of Id Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6