Rory, Quail Hollow, Semi Live

Sunday Afternoon – 5:06 pm Update

First time I’ve cared about golf since Masters Sunday.

Sunday Morning Update

This is easy for me: I want to see the guy in first or the guy in second win this thing.  Rickie Fowler is arguably my favorite player on Tour.  The whole grandfather/scraggly driving range (like the one in my hometown) thing reeled me in.

As for Roberto Castro, I’ve written about him here quite a few times.  He’s a cerebral guy, and that’s big in our book.  (Castro went to Georgia Tech, as did David Duval, another reflective golfer.  Who’s the golf coach there?  Socrates?)  Last time I wrote, I bemoaned the fact that Castro’s blog (All Things That Are Good) was gone (even though it was still listed on his Twitter account).  Today I have some good news: He has a new outlet.  So far, there is just one article, but it’s a great one.

In the piece, he looks back on 2015 with reviews of music, books, television, and restaurant reviews.  (Yes, he reviews two restaurant reviews.)  I’ll definitely check out the music he mentioned; in fact, I’ve started doing that as I write this.  And I added the novel he mentioned to my “To Read” list.

In the Great Minds Think Alike Department, I will mention this: Castro writes, “Veep and Silicon Valley continued to make the best 1–2 punch on TV.”  Why mention this?  I am currently in the midst of binge watching Silicon Valley.  In the past two days, I have watched the entire first season and half of the second.

One song recommendation I did not need to listen to was When I Paint My Masterpiece“Someday, everything is gonna be different, when I paint my masterpiece.”  Maybe Castro will paint his masterpiece today.


Rory and Quail Hollow will always be linked, so now’s a good time for a few stray thoughts on Rory 2016 and how he got here:

Has it gone wrong for Rory?  Here are some thoughts on why the answer may be yes:

  1. The Nike deal.  I blasted it at the time, and I still think it was a horrible deal.  I understand the desire to lock in the big money, to monetize all of Rory’s work and success.  However, how much additional money did he get that he couldn’t have gotten from other sponsors?  And would UA have courted him prior to locking down Spieth?  He lost a year for nothing, really.
  2. Did the Woods/Nike connection cause Rory to turn into a body builder?  That whole development is just stupid, whatever the reason.  Just my opinion, of course, but I’m sticking to it.  Conditioning is great; bodybuilding is ill-advised.
  3. The careless injury in the casual soccer game.  Not smart.

Points 1 and 2 fall into the category of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  Point 3 falls into the category of “Don’t break it.”

Rory regrets the Nike deal — witness the breakup and legal wranglings with his then management — but there’s nothing to be done about it at this point.

The soccer game was a tough lesson.  A close call would have made the same point without derailing him for half a year, but, alas, his injury was serious.  One wonders if it will affect the rest of his career.  The margin between winning and losing a tournament is often one shot out of 280.

The bodybuilding stuff, however, should be ended posthaste.  Nothing wrong with conditioning, but golf is not MMA.

Look, I have a soft spot in my heart for Rory.  I really connect to how he came from such humble beginnings.  All things being equal, I prefer him over Jordan Spieth.  That said, all things are not equal, and I can’t help but admire the way Jordan handles everything, including his deal with UA which seems on par with the decision Mark Cuban made in selling Real Audio at the exact right time.

I have turned sour on Rory in the past when I shouldn’t have.  Right before he caught fire in 2014, I was preparing to write a column calling for him to replace J.P. as his caddie.  And I realize that this year his impending marriage might be a distraction.  Still, one can’t help but think Rory is failing to live up to his promise.  I’d like to do a lot more Rorksy columns in the future, so I hope he can return to his 2014 level.

Addendum:  I can’t recall the precise details of Jack’s wedding; readers undoubtedly know more than I do.  However, the gist of it is that he took off a week from playing golf to get married, and on his honeymoon drive to NYC, he stopped off at a famous golf course (Pine Valley?) to play.  And the newlyweds ended their honeymoon after four days instead of the planned week.  Rory should get married in a similar fashion and be done with it.

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13 Responses to Rory, Quail Hollow, Semi Live

  1. Sports-realist. says:

    When is the last time Rory had a Saturday that was worth a darn? You wonder what the approach is in the ‘behind the scenes’ in Rory’s game?
    Is he really just staying with all his same people, assuming it will just come around? Has he already tried MAJOR changes to no avail, and is just trying to figure out the NEW changes? Or is he just not as motivated as he used too? Perhaps he doesn’t practice as much, or has been distracted, trying to get married and all that? I mean some players have lost interest in the sport they grew up dreaming about….
    In the end though, it’s STILL a mental game…His putting is NOTHING like is was a few years ago, and his SECOND shots are sometimes amateur……Working out really shouldn’t change either of those things, but…..something CLUTCH has left the building, when it comes to the PERSON of Mcllroy…..Will it return?

    • lannyh says:

      My theory was that the eye surgery was going to help his putting. Doesn’t seem to have worked out that way.

      I agree re some of his second shots. He’ll be in prime position for a birdie, then find himself struggling to salvage par. Rory’s problem rarely seems to be a lack of birdies, but rather a deluge of bogeys and worse.

  2. Jaybird77 says:

    I think you’re over analyzing the body building. Yes, he’s more fit/sculpted, but he’s the same weight and just as flexible, which, flexibility is a key in the golf swing.

    The biggest issue lies with the mental state and confidence, both of which, seem to be off.

    I’ve played enough golf, with enough different equipment, to know that, “it’s not the arrow, it’s the Indian”. Rory switched to Nike, had an off year, then had, maybe, his best year… ain’t the equipment.

    He’s not putting as well and he’s not hitting his short irons as close. That speaks to a lack of controlling his short irons. Which also speaks to his “one gear” swing. I.e. he’s got no finesse.

    • lannyh says:

      Consider: Rory joins the Euro Tour, not knowing if he can play with the big boys. Breaks through with a win a Dubai. Goes to America, wins at Quail Hollow. Wins two majors. Confidence high, he changes clubs.

      Total confidence turns to doubt; his results are disappointing. A year-and-a-half later, he is once again at the top of the golf world. Confidence could not be higher. Six months later, he injures his ankle. Confidence turns to doubt, his results are disappointing…

      There’s something to be said for stability.

      • Jaybird77 says:

        Yeah, his confidence went down because of different clubs. That’s bullshit. I’m not a tour caliber player but I’ve changed clubs damn near every year for the last decade and performance never dropped.

        His problem is between his ears.

      • lannyh says:

        Do you have an axe to grind on this issue? There are many cases of players losing their games due to equipment changes. Corey Pavin is a famous one. It could be the gear, or it could be psychological, but it has happened. I recall Nick Faldo sounding a warning at the time Rory changed.

      • Jaybird77 says:

        I don’t have an ax to grind. I just know from personal experience that my own game did not, all of the sudden, get worse because I was playing different equipment.

        I can’t imagine it making that big a difference to a tour player.

        You look at what Ror’s did on Sunday, tied for second best round of the day, and you can see it’s not the equipment.

      • lannyh says:

        Wait. You are saying what McIlroy did yesterday had bearing on January of 2013?

        Johnny Miller is on record as saying he made a club change that clobbered his game.

        As for my game, I don’t think the clubs matter much at all, although I did once buy a club that was designed to eliminate a slice and I duck-hooked it more than half the time. Other players hit it, and never had a problem. They’d stripe it on the range, making me want to puke.

      • Jaybird77 says:

        No, what I’m saying is, these tour players have access to so much fitting technology that Ror’s Nike Driver could be tuned in to play just like his old driver. And all his irons for that matter. Head weight/size, swing weight, frequency of shafts, etc, can all be dialed in and these tour players have access to all of it.

        As far as Johnny Miller, he mainly played/succeeded in the 70’s and technology was no where near where it is today….so that’s a poor comparison.

      • lannyh says:

        I see. No one who had a problem with a gear change in the past is relevant because today equipment is so much more precise. Rory had a problem with his gear change, but it was not due to the precise equipment.

        Yeah, that makes total sense. All you have to do is start with your conclusion and work backward. Very convenient!

      • Jaybird77 says:

        Let’s simplify it.

        2012 Rory had a good year pre-Nike
        2014 Rory had an even better year with Nike.

        If I can shoot par with TaylorMade, Callaway, Titleist and Cobra, then a tour player like Rory can shoot better than par with Titleist, Nike, or whatever else he puts in his hands.

        It’s not the equipment.

      • lannyh says:

        I think you are missing the point. It is the TRANSITION.

  3. Pingback: Rory and Golf’s First President | Lanny H Golf

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