GULLANE, Scotland (AP) – Rory McIlroy hasn't gotten too worked up about his struggles this year.
He certainly doesn't need any advice from Nick Faldo.
McIlroy shrugged off a suggestion from the six-time major champion to spend more time concentrating on golf, saying Wednesday that Faldo "should know how hard this game is at times.''
McIlroy won his second major title last summer with a runaway win at the PGA Championship, but the 24-year-old from Northern Ireland has been off his game this season after changing equipment. Heading into the British Open, some have also speculated that off-the-course activities have cut into his preparation time and mental sharpness.
Earlier this week, Faldo seemed to join that group when he urged McIlroy to spend the next two decades focused solely on his golf, calling it his “window of opportunity,'' before savoring all the benefits of being a multiple major champion.
“What's the big deal?'' McIlroy said. “I haven't had the best six months, but it's OK. I'm fine. I've got a good life. So, you know, it doesn't bother me. I'm in a good place. And as I said, I'm working hard. I feel like I'm working on the right things. And sooner or later it will turn around and I'll be back lifting trophies.''
Faldo said he believes McIlroy's struggles are mainly mental.
“The most ideal thing is to go to the club, 9 in the morning, hit balls all day long, and you leave at 5,'' Sir Nick said. “Concentrate on golf, nothing else. Hopefully when you retire, in your 40s or 50s, hopefully you have another 40 years to enjoy it. So just concentrate on golf.''
McIlroy said he intends to play 108 practice holes at Muirfield leading up to the Open, and he took a jab at Faldo's proposed schedule.
“I actually was on the range at 6:15 (a.m.), and got out of the gym at 6:15 (p.m.) – actually a 12-hour day compared to his eight-hour day,'' McIlroy said. “Nick should know how hard this game is at times. He's been in our position before. He should know how much work that we all put into it.''
McIlroy said he doesn't feel as though his game is that far off.
Certainly, there's no need to panic.
“It's like life,'' he said. “You're going to go through highs and you're going to go through lows. It's just about trying to work your way out of the lows. Yeah, I haven't played my best golf this year, but I've showed signs that it is there. It's just a matter of trying to do that more often. But, yeah, it's been difficult to try, I guess, to explain why I'm not playing well or why I haven't had the results that I've wanted over the past six months.''
McIlroy said he does his best to avoid what others are saying, though it was clear Faldo's words got back to him.
“Obviously it's hard to avoid at times,'' he said. “You just have to have the confidence and the self-belief in yourself that you're doing the right things and know that what you're doing is ultimately going to get you to the place that you want to be.''