The last two times we've seen Rory McIlroy on a major stage he's been bending a wedge in anger at Merion and lamenting himself as "brain-dead" en route to missing the cut at Muirfield.
Just a quick reminder: In 2012, Rory was the world's No. 1 player, PGA Tour Player of the Year, the leading money winner on Tour and won the PGA Championship at Congressional by a record eight strokes.
Since switching to Nike at the beginning of this season, McIlroy has had stretches of "Old Rory" -- Let's remind ourselves, he's only 24 -– followed by rounds in the 70s.
His season so far (major results bolded): T33, WD, T8, T45, 2, T25, T10, T8, T57, T41, MC.
What happened? Can it be pin-pointed to the new swoosh adorning his apparel? Or his young love romance with Caroline Wozniacki? Is Tiger just bullying him too much?
Well, nine-time major champ Gary Player thinks its related to the 24-year-old's decision-making so far in 2013, in an interview with My Sporting Life.
"I love Rory McIlroy. He’s got talent like you can’t believe but I was quite perturbed when I saw him win the US Open and then the next tournament that he played was one month later. You can’t do that. What he should have done was take a week off after winning the US Open to settle down and then play two tournaments and then the Open. You’ve got to prepare properly."
"When you’re in love as a young man, naturally golf seems to take second place for a while. It’s natural. Love is still the greatest thing that ever happens in our lives. But the thing is for a man like Rory with talent galore he’s got to make sure he has a woman like I’ve got, who has been married [to me] for 56 years, that has only encouraged me to do well and made sacrifices. He’s got to be intelligent and find the right wife. If he finds the right wife, if he practices and if he’s dedicated, he could be the man.”
For the record, I am a huge @McIlroyRory fan & supporter. Period. I think @CaroWozniacki is super & good for Rory. I wish them all the best
— Gary Player (@garyplayer) July 29, 2013
Related: Young love is a "distraction" for Rory, says Johnny Miller Photos: Rory at Caroline's tennis exhibtion (Photo: Getty)