When then-World No. 1 Rory McIlroy switched to Nike clubs at the beginning of the season for a reported gazillion dollars, Nick Faldo adopted a cautionary tone, saying that the move was "dangerous" and that McIlroy was "doing it for the money." That prompted McIlroy to respond that "Nick Faldo doesn't know how I feel over the golf shot and I don't know how he felt, but my guess is he was a little more analytically minded than I am. I try and keep things as simple as possible." With McIlroy's now game out of sorts, Faldo can certainly say "I told you so" and he did say that this week at the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. Randy King of the Roanoke Times has the details:
Coming off a 2012 campaign in which he won four tournaments, including his second major title, the Northern Ireland native has an average finish of 22.9 in 10 tour events and has wound up better than eighth only once.
In Faldo's opinion, Mc-Ilroy's slump can be pinned to an equipment change — he left Achushnet (the parent company of Titleist and Footjoy) for a big-money deal with Nike.
"Rory very simply messed with a winning formula," Faldo said. "He went from rookie of the year to world No. 1 and been through a lot and thought he could start again.
"As I said from Day One, I tweeted right away when it was announced that this was a dangerous move. I won't get into all the — people said, 'Oh, he's so talented, he can adapt.' Well, why should the world No. 1 be adapting to something new? As we discovered six months later, he's busy still trying putters, still trying drivers. It's not as easy."
Faldo added that he believes McIlroy has lost confidence in his game.
"We get a millisecond of feel at impact and if it's going great, it builds confidence; if it's suddenly something different to what you've been doing or thinking you're going to do, that hurts your confidence," Faldo said. "So I hope he hasn't gone too far, but it's damaged his confidence."
Photo: McIlroy at the 2013 Irish Open, where he missed the cut (Getty Images).