Rory McIlroy refocused and ready for Memorial
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Rory McIlroy had a simple explanation for why he suddenly added next week's St. Jude Classic to his schedule.
"I just feel like I need some rounds."
Then he paused for a moment before the punchline.
"These two-day weeks aren't really that good for me."
McIlroy has always poked fun at himself, and after a few rough weeks, it was clear Wednesday McIlroy isn't hitting the panic button yet.
He missed the cut in his last two starts -- the Players and the BMW PGA -- and admitted last week he may have slacked a little bit in his preparation. McIlroy elaborated Wednesday at Muirfield Village that he also hadn't seen his coach, Michael Bannon, that much this year. The two met last week after McIlroy missed the cut, and Bannon is here this week to fine-tune McIlroy's swing before he defends his U.S. Open title in two weeks.
But first, McIlroy wants to get to the weekend here at the Memorial Tournament, where he's finished in the top 10 twice in three starts.
"When you've went on a run where you've hardly finished outside the top five and then all of a sudden two missed cuts, it's more of a shock than anything else, just a little bit surprising, and it's something I haven't really had to deal with in a while," McIlroy said. "I just have to knuckle down and figure it out and get back to the way I was at the start of the year."
Even though McIlroy has a U.S. Open in his trophy case and has reached No. 1 several times, he's still 23 years old and trying to figure out life on Tour. This year McIlroy jumped to the PGA Tour full time and moved from Northern Ireland to Florida. Oh, and he began dating tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.
"This year has been a big learning curve for me because I'm still trying to find a balance between being a top‑class golfer and handling media commitments, sponsors' commitments, trying to have a life outside of all that, just trying to balance everything," McIlroy said. "It's something that it's hard to do all of them all at the same time. Yeah, it's something that I'm still figuring out how to do. But I've got a good team around me, and we're trying to figure that out at the minute."
McIlroy is also getting used to the 24/7 scrutiny of his game. He'll likely never be under the microscope as much as Tiger Woods, but McIlroy is certainly a player whose game is now dissected every week. Smashing U.S. Open records and being No. 1 tends to bring a little more attention, which he learned the hard way last week after he chucked a 6-iron after a bad shot at the BMW PGA.
"I didn't think it was that big a deal, and then I wake up the next morning and it's all over the papers in the UK, and I'm just like, Oh, my God," McIlroy said. "It's just one of those things, and it's something I'm going to have to deal with and learn how to do."
(Photo: Matt Sullivan/Reuters)