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McIlroy still seeking the perfect schedule

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Iain Carter | 20:23 UK time, Monday, 30 April 2012

When Rory McIlroy tees off at Quail Hollow on Thursday he will have played only four competitive rounds in the last 51 days.

The reigning US Open champion tells us he plays his best golf when at his freshest and certainly there can be no excuse for golf fatigue as he heads into the meat of the 2012 season.

Those four rounds came at last month's Masters, where McIlroy's highly promising halfway position was squandered over a miserable weekend that left him tied for 40th place.

Just as he had done a year earlier, the Northern Ireland youngster had played sparingly before heading to Augusta. There was no competitive golf after the WGC event at Doral in early March.

Rory McIlroy

McIlroy moved to the top of the world rankings after winning the Honda Classic in March. Photo: Getty

In 2011 there were few arguments against the wisdom of such a move. McIlroy dominated the Masters to go four shots clear of the field before blowing it on the back nine on the Sunday.

The fact that he wasn't ready to win a major then was nothing to do with the schedule he was following.

Perhaps, though, this year's version of McIlroy was undercooked heading into the first major of the year. Certainly there was something missing when he was looking to build on promising opening rounds of 71 and 69. He followed them with scores of 77 and 76.

On a course where a lack of precision is usually brutally exposed there is little room for rustiness and this may have been the root cause behind such a disappointing Masters challenge.

McIlroy's light early season schedule has been tailored to make sure there is plenty in the tank for a more hectic remainder of the year.

His results, though, suggest that he benefits from playing consecutive weeks. In early March when he won the Honda Classic, McIlroy had reached the final of the WGC Matchplay just seven days earlier.

And his victory at the Hong Kong Open at the end of last year came the week after playing for Ireland in the World Cup.

So this week it is perhaps prudent not to expect the kind of fireworks at Quail Hollow we witnessed two years ago when he fired a closing 62 to win by four strokes and land his maiden PGA Tour title.

His recent winning history suggests a sustained title challenge is more likely to materialise the following week at the prestigious Players' Championship.

By then any rust should have been shed in Charlotte - something which will be important when it comes to taking on the world's best on the demanding and unforgiving TPC Stadium course at Sawgrass.

McIlroy's sparse 2012 calendar so far has caused some to question his appetite for competitive golf. Reference was made in comments on this blog last week and others find it hard to fathom an apparent lack of desire to play more regularly.

But it is more that he hates to feel stale and jaded on the course. Furthermore the youngster, who turns 23 on Friday, has already reached a stage where he has the financial independence and clout to be independently selective of his events.

McIlroy's schedule building up to his US Open defence in June looks spot on. After the Players' he has a week's break before the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

Another week off is followed by Jack Nicklaus's Memorial event and then a clear week to hone his game for the second major of the year.

But he will only play the Irish Open between the US Open and the Open Championship which starts on 19 July. This gives McIlroy a full fortnight off before teeing it up at Royal Lytham. It is a risky strategy that potentially leaves him short of competitive edge ahead of the grandest major of all.

The PGA Championship is the only one of the big four competitions where he will play the week before, but this applies to all the leading contenders because the "warm-up" tournament is the World Golf Championships Invitational in Akron.

Different players have varying approaches to scheduling. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are very much in the selective McIlroy mould.

So is Luke Donald, who like the man he has just displaced as world number one, has the added pressure of fulfilling the minimum tournament requirements of the PGA and European Tours.

In his pomp, Padraig Harrington was convinced he played his best golf in the third week of a run of three tournaments while Colin Montgomerie simply wanted to play himself into form by competing week in, week out.

It is all about finding what works best and McIlroy is pretty close to the correct formula. His results suggest as much, but I wonder if he may end up considering fewer lengthy pre-major breaks in the seasons to come.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Good blog Ian nice that you point out how people on the blog have picked up on his schedule. Results will be the proof of his scheduling wisdom.

  • Comment number 2.

    Good blog Ian nice to see you mention that people on the blog have picked up on torts schedule. Only results will prove if he is right. Imo he should play more regularly but now he is a major champ perhaps he is not so motivated

  • Comment number 3.

    Davey get back to bed

  • Comment number 4.

    Iain an interesting article about young Mac,I didn't realise how litttle golf he was playing.
    In his heyday did Tiger go so long without playing in tournaments ? if so good luck to Rory,but like I have said before if you are playing well and winning surely as a top athlete you would "home" yourself towards the big 4 and then play as much as possible and show the rest of the field "your the man" to beat.

    On a seperate note have you any good news regarding the gold day ?

  • Comment number 5.

    Sorry Manina woke early and low and behold a new blog. You will beat me to it one day lol. Ian I wonder what your thoughts are on the resurgent Ernie? I know its difficult for you to cover all the bases in the blog, but do you think it amusing that the very thing Ernie said was questionable in legality a while ago is the very thing that has become his crutch. Yes the long putter, that weapon of mass hysteria.

  • Comment number 6.

    Sorry
    "On a seperate note have you any good news regarding the gold day ?"
    It should have read

    On a seperate note have you any good news regarding the golf day ?

  • Comment number 7.

    Each player, especially those in the top 20, are free to choose their own schedule as they are gauranteed places in all the biggest events. Conventional wisdom would suggest that players should play at least the week before any selected "big" tournament and probably the one before that. I think McIlroy should play more than he does so that his game is sharp, but also I believe that the best players should play more so that the games profile is kept high. (I know RMc does his bit in the Middle / Far East on this note)
    It'll be a catch 22, especially if he doesn't start to perform at the highest level.
    If it's worked for him so far in his career there's no reason to suggest he should change.

    @ Man.. I'm up for a GOLD day. Is that Krugerands or Sovereigns you'll be handing out ? ;-)

  • Comment number 8.

    Different players have different views. Some guys know they are not good trainers, and when faced with 3 or 4 weeks off will struggle to put in much meaningful practice. They need the 'fear factor' of never being more than a few days from a tournament.

    Obviously McIlroy feels he can do a lot of good work when he has a few weeks off. But I don't think we can get too carried away - it's not an exact science and there are so many other variables.

    I do think Rory should be playing in Scotland, at a Links course, the week before the Open. Previously Rory has looked pretty good in Links events, but last year he didn't adjust to conditions and pretty much gave up on having a chance at Royal St George's.

  • Comment number 9.

    Iain i can honestly say "good article" nice too see you have seen and picked up from my comments to yourself about Mcilroy from the previous blog.

  • Comment number 10.

    Welcome back Micky where has your playboy lifestyle been keeping you?

  • Comment number 11.

    I think its also a shame that this blog has lost all its loyal bloggers, and i have noticed in my absence over previous weeks the number of comments have drastically plumeted. Somebody tells me there is a rival facebook blog, i aint on facebook so looks like i will have to carry on chatting to myself on here, gone are the days of laughter and banter with my good mates BiloMct, Sumo82, Mickyweir, Don247, Jeffkenna and Jamesmatthew, oh and Kwiksandgolfer

  • Comment number 12.

    It's not a bad life for McIlroy is it. Just play where and when you want and get paid handsomely for it. However I thought a 22 year old would want to be out playing the best golf courses every week like Rickie Fowler and others. I know I would!

    I wonder what RORS has been doing the last 4 weeks? And why choose this weekend to play when the world snooker final will be on!?

  • Comment number 13.

    Micky its not a rivalry thing just something to keep banter going at the weekend during tournaments your presence was missed and a few of us were wondering where you were. Jimmy took up the baton on PL and kept it alive with some difficulty due to posts vanishing. On the comments front think they dried up as masters was blog overload then we went a week without one ,though I understand IC hurt his leg skiing silly boy. So things will return to normal imo at least some of the trolls have cleared off.

  • Comment number 14.

    Hi Davey, hows it going!, Forgot to add you on my banter mates list in the above post, you are deffo in there though mate.

    Ive had a lot on Davey over the last couple of months, we went over to the wifes parents in America if you remember, i had a couple of days down Cheltenham. I flew over to Australia for 7 days to watch the Anzac rugby league test bewtween Australia and New Zealand, then we had 4 days in Bahrain for the F1 on our way back, my mate is a sales executive for TATA communications who sponsor F1, so he managed to get VIP, Vettel was flying, was awesome being trackside. The F1 was fine but it was a nightmare getting in and out with all the battling that was going on. Anyways im back to the land of the living now, need to get my blogging back on track!

  • Comment number 15.

    mickey good to see you back.
    Can you let me into your little secret, I wouldn't mind that for the 1st part of the year,whats the next few months like Monaco GP, Us Open Wimbledon Lytham ?

    and don't forget the Euros and Olympics

  • Comment number 16.

    Aw thanks Micky wish I had your lifestyle the nearest I get to the jet set lifestyle is watching the planes land at brum airport out of the window at work grr. Micky can you ans one question are you and the scorcerer connected as when you vanished so did he? Sorry back to golf At least the euro season proper starts this week, the tournaments should start to attract some stronger fields. Us will be a better tournament this week though dont see Rors winning. Would be great to see Rors and Luke paired together soon players maybe? and throw in Westy now that would be worth watching.

  • Comment number 17.

    Manina Regards Micky you forgot uspga euro football championships and a trip to Ryder cup maybe?

  • Comment number 18.

    Davey What do you think I meant by the Euros ? I was only looking at his summer plans it's abit early to think about his Autumn plans :-)

  • Comment number 19.

    (IMHO) I beleive Woods and Westwood will finish above little mac in the wells fargo this week and would love to see Retief Goosen play well as he seems to be getting outshone by EE and all the new South African talent at the moment.

    I'm not sure about the spanish Open not many big names in the field but would go for Lawrie,Colsaerts or the big hitting Larazzaal if i were a betting man ,but I do agree with LD that it would be nice to have another tournament or two in England

  • Comment number 20.

    Guys i am actually going to the Open at Lytham, its only 30 mins from my house so couldnt miss it really, i think that maybe it though for this year ive spent far too much money already!

    Davey i'm not connected to the sorcerer, i think he thinks he's connected to everyone else though, has he not been on? I thought he was top of the prediction league! No doubt he will show up un announced with some more of his trivial sayings!

  • Comment number 21.

    Michael Sausage - are you a real person, or are your comments simply an attempt at sounding like the ultimate self-absorbed pr@t?

    Young McIlroy says he is gaining more focus on being an athlete thanks to his new sports star girlfriend but you can't help but think he is getting distracted at always wishing to be by her side when he could be working on his game.

  • Comment number 22.

    Thats cleared that up then Micky thanks. As you live near Lytham what is it like as a spectator venue? At this point I have not made my mind up whether to go or not. If its not a great spectator venue will give it a miss.

  • Comment number 23.

    @ 21 If you bothered to read previous blogs Micky was one of the people who questioned Rorys recent commitment to the game so your a bit off the mark. Hope your not one of those people who pops up attacks people and talks Garbage.

  • Comment number 24.

    Another interesting sideways look at the world of golf from Iain. I guess each player is different and it's all down to the mind. I think some players may be blessed in that there's no such thing as "competative golf" (matchplay aside of course). For some of them you're just playing the course, so whether it's at a tour event or in a practice round makes little or no difference - it's still just a piece of landscape you're competing against. My mind doesn't work that way, but it's just a thought.

    #11 micky,

    I hope you're wrong - I don't do facebook either. There was some good stuff from some of the regulars last week though. Sometimes it's difficult to guess when the blog will turn up so some of the regulars might not have noticed we're up and running again.

    #21 Golf_Geezer

    Did you get out of bed on the wrong side? Or are you a Man Utd fan? :-)

  • Comment number 25.

    Bright eyed and bushy-tailed, Daveyboy... or is it all the googling of female sports presenters that is keeping you from sleeping? (Other internet search engines available).
    I know you said the Euro tour start properly this week but I think most weekends so far have thrown up plenty of stories and talking points. 3 wins for Grace, runaway victory for the Austrian who I'm not going to google for a spelling. Surely this is as important as when the big stars finally show up and ultimately great for the game!

  • Comment number 26.

    Don don where for art though with your take on the blog and some well chosen words in Rorys defence looking forward to it.

  • Comment number 27.

    @ 25 woke up in eager anticipation of the blog could not believe my eyes when it was there. I take your point the Euro tour to be fair never stops but somehow it feels more euro when its in Europe. Plus the fields get stronger, not taking anything away from any of the deserving winners so far this year a win is a win beat who your up against. On your travel issue look at the train:)

  • Comment number 28.

    Oh and Manina is the bleary eyed google ( other search engines available) presenter checker outer.

  • Comment number 29.

    Good blog Iain - always interesting to see what schedule the guys have and compare it to our own.

    I play off single figures and I can honestly say that I play my best golf only with constant practice/playing

    I know these guys are naturally talented and they practise during the week - but if it were me I would be playing every tournament I could

    Family is obviously a big factor and for Rory he has the pleasure of bunking up with Wozniacki - and he is only young and quite right that he enjoys the fruits of his labour thus far.

    Golf_Geezer is definately a UTD fan - marmite on toast is great for grumpy mornings!

  • Comment number 30.

    Golf_Geezer, I am a real person, i take your critisism with a kind heart, you must be new to this blog. I am sorry if your team lost the title race last night, this maybe the reason your in such a bad mood? It's a pitty you arnt playing like Brazil the same has my boys Wigan Athletic! ;)

    I'm not too sure on the way Rory is playing things at the minute, and i posted my views on this in the last blog. You look at legends like Wood's and Mickleson and in there early days they where playing every event possible. Rory is still young and surely he should be out there trying to win has much money and events he possibly can! But has my good friend and Mcilroy lover Don247 mentioned in the last blog we are debating about a man who has become world number 1 without even striking a ball and already as a wagon full of riches!

  • Comment number 31.

    Thanks Davey... train not an option as I need to be in Newcastle on Sunday for a golf tour and I don't want to let the biys down! I'd never planned for going to Munich - who'dve thought?!?

  • Comment number 32.

    #31

    father in law is going and apparantly some of the season ticket holders have/are organising a bus

    he is not quite sure if he can get a ticket yet, he has 80pts accrued on his ticket - whatever that means!

    but there are a few of them going to munich anyway.....even to sit in a bar and watch it over there must be worth it!

  • Comment number 33.

    Iain,
    Interesting topic.
    Given the extent to which Rory has become exhausted by the end of 2009 and 2011 (seven tournaments in the last 11 weeks of his 2011 season for instance), it doesn't really seem surprising that he'd take a breather early in the year.
    Presumably all the better to be fresh for the lucrative appearance fee-driven schedule that Asia has waiting for him this autumn.
    It's doubtful that he'd play The Players if he didn't need the event towards his 15 minimum, especially after what he has said about not liking the course, can't see his "lines" etc.
    But he's scheduled for Wentworth, then WILL play Memorial, very well most likely, and obviously Olympic Club. Would think he has his schedule just about where he wants it.

  • Comment number 34.

    Just watching Phil caddying for bones as he plays jo le cava with Freddie on the bag good stuff wonder if Tiger would caddy for him ?? Le Cava that is

  • Comment number 35.

    I think I've said before it's very difficult to criticise anyone's schedule if at the end of a given season the player deems it a successful one. If Rory spends all year as World #1 or 2 and wins a major you have to say his scheduling is fine.
    What constitutes success to 'them' is hard to say... one major minimum?

  • Comment number 36.

    Interesting to see how Rory is coping with the season so far and were he is laying his priorities, i personally think he should of played more tornaments this year but if he wins the US Open i'll be proved well and truly wrong. In blogs past we've all mentioned how the British contingent eg, Donald, Westwood, McIlroy should be concentrating on the majors, maybe this is just Rory's ploy to keep himself fresh for the bigger tornaments. Anyway, i bet sweet Caroline keeps him far more occupied than the range.

  • Comment number 37.

    #29 YB - "can honestly say that I play my best golf only with constant practice/playing".
    Don't fret too much as Rory's coach/mentor/tutor/whatever he is called has spent 2 weeks in the USA with Rory. He will have been going through a lot of work so he might just come out of the blocks like a ferret on heat.

  • Comment number 38.

    Trev

    I imagined he would have been doing some intense practise - and some will find more comfort and confident in good practise than average competitive rounds I suppose

    If I can get to the range once and play 9 holes once midweek im usually okay for a decent round Saturday, with a small basket before hand to warm up

  • Comment number 39.

    The BBC have quite aptly provided a piece about (every day) pressure and 'choking'. There is, amazingly, no mention of Lee Westwood - Bilo must literally be choking on baby Bilo's rusks as we speak!!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17874450

  • Comment number 40.

    #12: However I thought a 22 year old would want to be out playing the best golf courses every week like Rickie Fowler and others. I know I would!
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Not sure Fowler isn't actually harming his game playing so much, as he has been very up and down...maybe he needs to be a little more selective too.

    Like a lot of younger pros, I think it will take a year or two yet for McIlroy to work out his 'perfect' schedule - as Iain alluded to, I don't believe this year's schedule is that dissimilar (thus far) to last, and that didn't go too badly ;-)

    He will make bad decisions as well as good ones - that's part of learning to be a touring pro.

  • Comment number 41.

    Nice blog Iain.

    Personally I feel that it's too early to pass judgment on McIlroy's schedule. If come the end of the season he's not produced any fireworks then we can maybe point the finger at it.

    You have to trust that McIlroy knows himself better than anyone else, especially us bloggers.

  • Comment number 42.

    #41 LV... agree entirely. I think it's easy for us to pass comment as we are always keen to see the best players play week in week out and witness the 'rivalries' the media are a little bit obsessed with.
    Our preferred schedules for our favourites would be 52 straight weeks on tour in order to justify all the money I throw at Sky!!

  • Comment number 43.

    I have heard that even at an eary age McIlroy's back is beginning to be a bit suspect. That may also be a reason for such a selective schedule.

  • Comment number 44.

    This article proves just how difficult a career in golf can be. It shows just how difficult it is for the likes of Westwood, Els and the select others who play golf all over the world. These golfers are the true ambassadors of the sport.

  • Comment number 45.

    Good blog Iain, only just got a few minutes after a full morning of nappies etc!

    I dont agree with Rory's big gaps between tournaments, not sure it will pay off. sure he'll be rested but will he be 'match fit' when he plays?

    alright mickysausage, sounds like you've had a busy few weeks!

    did anyone else hear about Amatuer Paul Green shooting a 59 at Carnostie last week? Outriageously good round

  • Comment number 46.

    p.s excuse my spelling, holding a Bambino! also check out my pics on FB later...been teachin Ramona Golf already!

  • Comment number 47.

    The problem Rory has is that he is young and has gone down the road of keeping lots of people he knows from way back,if Rory is to become a great golfer he will have to change his caddy,he needs a much more experienced one he should have grabbed Tigers old caddy when he became available,he needs better course management to win big.

  • Comment number 48.

    Bilo - Is it true the godparents are Don247, powerhitter and jimmy????

  • Comment number 49.

    BiloMct i would be interested to know who your new arrival likes and doesnt like on this blog!! Can you collate the data into spreadsheet form and upload it for us later?

  • Comment number 50.

    There is a lot of golf to be played between now and November. The players championship, 3 majors, the WGC's, the Ryder Cup and the Fedex Cup series so I think it's a case that he doesn't want to do too much too soon.
    I have no doubt that Rory wants to win a career grand slam and he is justified in tailoring his season so that his chances of doing so are increased.

  • Comment number 51.

    BiloMct are you on facebook? Might have to give this a try! Is it any good? Who else out the guys on here are on it? Is Sumo82/Powerhitter/Dennerslad on it>?

  • Comment number 52.

    @50 NedTheNoodler - You have hit the nail on the head there, these tournaments are in fact still yet to be contested this year, maybe Rory can prove his doubters (accept Don247) wrong!

  • Comment number 53.

    @51 micky...Nice to see you back dude! It's been (shall I say) a "challenge" sticking up for "our" boy! I believe he had "posture" problems! Anyway, I expect a big week from him as he doesn't generally play well at The TPC.
    You should check it out (give it a try), Just a bit of "banter" and chat....Only about 10 of us and Bilo.

  • Comment number 54.

    Mickey - is it true that you have been away considering whether to award me those retropsective points from Feb?

    I think I'm right in saying that Jack Nickalus (sic) played in relatively few tournaments outside of the majors - with emphasis on the word 'relatively'. Certainly, he geared his schedule around the majors because those were the tournaments that he wanted to win. I guess Rory is just doing the same thing, in his own way. Perhaps he will modify his schedule over the years if he doesn't get it right first time.

    Off topic, but have you heard that Hodgson has been named England Manager?

  • Comment number 55.

    @The Boike-Meister General, I did indeed take time off the blog to look through numerous prediction league and betting website rule books to find anywhere if there was ruling that you can enter predictions/bets into anything after the starting whistle/claxton/siren/bell/ringmaster etc hac called game on. I did have an answer but by the time i got BiloMct to collate the data and load it into spreadsheet format, i had been succeeded at the prediction helm by our Blog leader/Prediction analyst Jimmy. You will now need to take this matter up with Jimmy i am sure he will probably give you a straight Yes/No.

  • Comment number 56.

    mattefc, hows it going? I am glad i have been away really because i have missed all the Tiger slagging and would have probably only ended up in numerous arguements anyway, the thing is Tiger had a bad masters, and every time Tiger has a bad tournament now no matter if he's been playing well or not, the Tiger haters are going to jump straight on his back and say he's lost it again. He isnt going to play well every tournament and to say he was playing bad i think he did well to finish all 4 rounds, this was just a blip from Tiger and i have no doubt he will return to form, maybe the Masters was just too soon for him.

  • Comment number 57.

    Given that Rory is vying for the number one slot in the world he must be doing something right. Also, he might have taken one look at what the golf tour did to Tiger and decided that it wasn't going to happen to him so he's making sure he has enough time to spend with those he loves.

    Rory took a bold decision to break with Chubby Chandler and I think the team he's with now are all acting in Rory's best interests. Sport isn't the be all and end all in life as shown by the tragic death of the Norwegian swimmer, Alexander Dale Oen, at the tender age of 26.

  • Comment number 58.

    @56 micky......You're not wrong. I stand to be corrected, but pre masters his last 6/7 stroke events: 1,1,2,3,3,15, (in no particular order), terrible results by anyone's standards aren't they dude!!!

  • Comment number 59.

    Some notable threeballs for Quail Hollow:

    McIlroy, Furyk, Toms
    Woods, Ogilvy, Simpson
    Mickelson, Bradley, Haas
    Westwood, Glover, Stanley

  • Comment number 60.

    Gents, a prediction league update for you. Last Week we had nobody picking up any points at all for the European Tour as a bunch of irrelevant nobodies took home the medals, at least they were irrelevant to the predictors.

    We had a good few people making some good picks for New Orleans. Normal Scoring applies so Dufner Picks up 10, Els 5, and Donald 3. This weeks scorers were

    Gbell 13
    Undersiege 13
    Jimmy 10
    Cfcboy23 8
    Golfrants 5
    Daveyboyfletcher 3
    Mattefc 3
    Maninasuitcase 3

  • Comment number 61.

    Don't want to be controversial, but why does the current number one seem to skip the events that have "the stronger field"!! He has played Transitions & Zurich lately compared to Honda & Wells Fargo. Interested in people's thoughts on that.

  • Comment number 62.

    Incidentally, all the posts complained about from the other week were re-instated and I have therefore been able to collate picks from the Heritage (Winner Pettersson) and the Maybank (Winner Oosthuizen) It leaves the overall scores looking like this.

    Jimmy 80
    Powerhitter 73
    Daveyboyfletcher 71
    Gbell 70
    The Sorcerer 60
    Cfcboy23 55
    8 for 6 for 1 55
    BiloMct 54
    Mattefc 52
    Undersiege 46
    Rossji 40
    Maninasuitcase 39
    Sumo82 39
    Lord Voldemort 39
    BMG 29
    Yorkshire Blogster 24
    Diamondvneck 24
    Grover69 21
    OldManGriff 20
    Mickysausage 15
    Golfrants 14
    Stinky Steve 13
    Wibbliouswobblious 13
    Welsh Wizard 5 10
    Superhans84 10
    Chumbawumba12 8
    DivotedGolfer 5
    Jedimaster 3
    Anglesdan 3
    Lovegolf 3
    Rich 3

    As usual picks in before the 1st ball is struck.

  • Comment number 63.

    @62 Jimmy..Get off your high horse fella!!!!! I jest, top of the league, well done.

  • Comment number 64.

    Now that i've got the admin out of the way, for what its worth here is my opinion on the blog.

    I dont really feel that making comment on any players choice of schedule is particularly wise. Simply I dont believe that we are in any position at all to pass judgement.

    Firstly, what works for one man doesnt work for another and therefore you can never say that one person should learn from another as they are different people with different needs.

    Secondly, anyone who plays golf knows that form is fickle and can desert you at any time. You can get your preparation spot on and still play badly, therefore how can we say with any certainty that Mcilroys poor display in the final two rounds was down to poor preparation? Simply put you cant.

    Thirdly, there are so many variables that will go into determining a players schedule. Money, Ranking Points, Travel, Family Commitments, Sponsors Commitment, Personal preparation preferences, Playing courses they like/ suit their game. There are doubtless more, all of these are personal and are quite honestly not something that i feel myself or anyone else is qualified to make criticism of.

  • Comment number 65.

    @63 - Its noticeable how much better i'm doing since i took over admin of the league from Micky ;)

    On that note however, Micky, if you are back full time and want to take over you are welcome to it.

  • Comment number 66.

    Jimmy that calculator of yours working well for you ha ha congrats on being top. Hope you did not float away at Belton this weekend.

  • Comment number 67.

    Not trying to be too critical but this is a really poor blog. Is Rory McIlroy's playing schedule really the most interesting golfing subject this week? In my opinion it isn't the best golfing story out there. But for what it's worth, I think the 3rd round Masters pairing of Garcia and McIlroy worked against them both and not his schedule. All looked a bit chummy to me and when it starts to go wrong as it did on the first hole then it can be hard to get it back especially when you're both dropping shots together and taking doubles. Much prefer to see a European paired with an American in the Majors...focuses the mind more. Always has.

  • Comment number 68.

    @64..Jimmy....First of all I think Iain was basically wondering if the amount of golf Rory has played lately "enough". I don't think it is (as others have pointed out), but as you suggest "each to their own". I honestly think that if he is serious then I'm suprised at how much "competitive" golf he is willing to miss. As Don hinted on a previous blog (not his words), he is in the air more than his golf ball!!

  • Comment number 69.

    daveyboyfletcher @26:

    In Rory's Defence? .... Part 1:

    daveyboyfletcher, I can't defend the indefensible. IM(Humble Pie)O, I think that Rory has been taking far too much time off (... pursuing other interests) which, if it continues, will ultimately (read: "sooner rather than later") have a detrimental effect on his game.

    My sarcy attack on mickysausage last week was intended to be a highly ironic, non-too-subtle wrap on the knuckles for "my" Wonder Boy (who, not unlike mickysausage, seems to spend most of his time these days gallivanting around the world, jetting from one top sports event to the next and generally enjoying the good life) Much to my despair, Rory is not following Don247's "Blueprint for Ultimate World Golf Domination" which I drew up for him so carefully last year.

    As trevthetrainer said last week: Rory needs "to get his priorities right and concentrate on the golf. You don't see little miss tennis pro taking three weeks off, do you?"

    Of course, the difference between the front end of "Wozzilroy" (read "much loved-up pantomine horse") and the back end is that "Sweet Caroline" is under contractual obligation to play in all top-ranking WTA tournaments unless she's injured and has a valid "sick note" to prove it. The WTA runs a tight ship, whereas in golf, each competitor can draw up his own individual schedule! Rory is therefore free to chase after "Caro's tail" so to speak at will ... which, by all accounts and appearances, he doesn't seem to mind one little bit!! The key question, however, is: What are Rory's priorities at this particular moment in time?

  • Comment number 70.

    In Rory's Defence? .... Part 2:

    Last week, I suggested that Chubby was just too hard a taskmaster for "Young Rors", who "willingly" accepted that very long and arduous schedule last year, flying backward and forward across continents several times (.. even with suspected Deng Fever!) to fulfil the many signed business contracts, satisfy his sponsors' demands and generally fill up his wheelbarrow with vast amounts of "petrol money. Chubby C, as we know, is very money-orientated and dedicated to the European Tour which increasingly means tournaments in the Middle East and Asia. Rory, on the other hand, is more inclined towards the "fair weather, high ball flight, target-style golf" played in the US; hence their "amicable" split. (Remember Lee Westwood's "bizarre" comment on hearing about Rory's decision to quit Chubby's management and the allegedly "Well, that's kids for you!" on hearing that Chubby was perhaps "taking Rory down wrong path".)

    No doubt, Rory's desire to "be his own man" (in a world of equals) was uppermost in that decision because Rory's not very adept at taking advice about his game, course management and caddie etc. from others. Indeed, Rory's decision making, self-discipline and dedication have not always been his strongest suits. At school, he didn't do well; his teachers excused his somewhat lack-lustre performance because he was a world golf champion from an early age. On "Inside the Ropes" on pgatour.com, Rory says his least favourite subjects at school were English and English Literature. "Why study them when I can speak?" OK but, by his own admission, his former girlfriend CS was the "brains" of the household.

    I don't want to cast aspersions on "Wozzilroy", but Caroline is an intelligent, highly articulate (in three or more languages) and strong-willed young lady who has also had altercations with her father and coach about her recent performances. Before the end of April last year, Caroline was not only world #1 but had also won three tournaments. In the same period this year (with the whole Wozzilroy "love thing" going on), Caro has won no tournaments at all and is currently slipping down the rankings! Is their relationship having a negative effect on their respective professional careers? It would appear to be so to an idle old outside observer like Don247.

    As we all know Rory has more money than he can ever spend, he has taken good care of his hard-working parents and now, with that all-important Major under his belt, he is exempt on both tours for years to come so that the "day job" has been taken care of. Rory is in the position to call all the shots with regard to his new management and his career. Indeed, he can play the schedule he wants ... to fit in with his private life, his obligations to the respective sponsors/tours and with WTA tournaments taking place in exotic locations around the world. It all depends on how much he wants it!

  • Comment number 71.

    In Rory's Defence? .... Part 3:

    Rory, however, is not Tiger Woods: he doesn't have the inner drive or the desire to beat Jack Nicklaus records. Rory is on record as saying that he just wants to be Rory ... and, IM(Humble Pie)O, therein lies a danger in terms of golf.

    The first time Rory reached world #1, he said:
    "It’s great to get to this position and I’d love to stay here for as long as possible.
    "I feel like I do thrive in the spotlight and I like the attention. I’m not saying I’m an attention-seeker but you know you’re doing something right when you’re in the spotlight.

    "I don’t feel under any pressure to keep the No1 - that’s not what I play golf for. It’s about winning tournaments."

    Has Young Rors' head been turned by the attractive blonde on his arm? Is he being seduced away by the bright lights, the adulation of the crowds (e.g. at Madison Square Garden, Newbury etc.) and the attraction of living the celebrity life (dinner invitation to the White House, meeting the Queen etc.) Indeed, does Rory have the "mental resolve" to say "Stop!" to all the time-consuming, energy-sapping off-course activities and possess the necessary "intestinal fortitude" to say "Go!" to the on-course practice, the grind, focus and application to become the multiple-major winner he (claims) he wants to be?

    The next couple of years will be crucial/decisive in defining who Rory is as a man and as a golfer. Will Rory go on to fully exploit the golfing talent/potential he possesses or will he come up short and "underachieve" (... whatever that means when it's difficult enough for most players even to win one tournament)?

    Only time will tell!

    (As I've said before .. to much ridicule from jimmy and powerhitter et al, Rory's default personality is more "flight" than "fight" .... which means, when given the choice, he will follow the path of least resistance and choose the good life .... which, of course, is not a bad life at all considering you're a multi-millionaire at the age of 22!)

  • Comment number 72.

    He is very good but I think is too young to be thinking that way..Phil & Tiger at his age played about everything to get their many successes. Rory's successes so far have not left him hungry enough. He seems to switch down effort if he is not successful in the frist couple of days in a tournamant and dosen't fight back enough like Justin Rose did at the Masters... I sure hope he starts...

  • Comment number 73.

    Dear Don247 (posts 69,70 and 71),
    You're rambling and talking utter drivel. Complete rubbish.
    Dear Lethnot (post72) So you're saying Rory gives up and doesn't try hard enough if things don't go his way?!! Total nonsense. This is why it's a poor post because it turns into this.

  • Comment number 74.

    @73 El Guaje.......I thought it was a very good "insight" and as usual well written, what did you think was drivel/rambling?????

  • Comment number 75.

    Don Eloquent as ever did you or have you a career in journalism? With or without his tennis star girlfriend this may well have been Rorys plan for the year now that he has new management, it maybe just seems like he is not playing as often and the fact that he has been out and about ala Micky living the celeb lifestyle makes his abscence more visible giving the impression he is not practising who knows? He does at times appear a bit headstrong but I guess as a major winner and very wealthy man can do what he feels is best for him. If he retains his US open or wins one of the other Majors this year no one will question that he has had a successful year.

  • Comment number 76.

    mattefc @61:

    Don't want to be controversial but, according to The Independent, "your" Tiger is not giving a press conference before the Wells Fargo this week. He's doing an online Q&A session instead. The article states:

    "Of course, this has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he doesn't want to face his many friends in the world of journalism and go through the tiresome process of explaining his already infamous club-kicking escapade at Augusta or, indeed, his worst finish at The Masters as a professional. No, on his first appearance in a month, Woods merely wants "direct interaction with the fans".

    As mickysausage suggests, the knives are out for him already ... they are long, they are sharp and they are many!

    P.S. - Despite what you say, Luuuke acquitted himself very well last week after a slow start (in very windy conditions!) and came through a strong field (you can only play against those who enter .... where was Tiger and Rory?) to finish with a 67 in sole third position. I would say: "Well played, Luuuke!"

    P.P.S. - mattfc, I think you should also step up (voluntarily, of course) and collect that "XL slice of humble pie" which is coming your way for that "Doofner" slight of yours ....

    Jason ("Mr Waggle") Dufner finally came good and, hopefully, will "kick on" (not in the Tiger sense) to achieve greater things because he is a very solid player indeed!

  • Comment number 77.

    @74 EL G.....I also thought it was a rather good trilogy !!
    RMc has had a stella year over the last 12 months, a Major, Golf's "richest" prize, numerous wins etc. But as Don points out (and others) he has now attained all that he wanted in golf - to win a major and be #1 in the world. Does he have the inner desire to carry on and surpass other records. Methinks not. But ultimately it is about what RMc wants / needs and he can make his own decisons. It is only the media that pressures him to do this, do that, win this, and us ! ;-)
    I don't think he will fail to win more Majors and I have nothing against him enjoying the trappings of his career but as #1 then he should be out promoting the game as much as possible. Again, to use Dons tennis analogy, the worlds top players turn out week in week out without any seemingly effect in performance.

    p.s. El G this is what the blogs are for. Author writes a piece. Bloggers comment on this and any other thing that takes their fancy !

  • Comment number 78.

    As you point out Don Luke came through the field after 2 average rounds and came good at the weekend. He when he needs to seems able to find that bit of something to produce the finish he needs, nothing spectacular but gets the result. Last year pga to go no. 1, Disney to win US money list got to hand it to him. Will be interesting to see if Rory goes back to no.1 this week not sure where he needs to finish to accomplish this but still see the number one slot changing hands again and again this year. Wentworth Rory v luke final group Sunday that would be worth the entrance fee.

  • Comment number 79.

    @76..Don...First of all, It is no "accident" (shall I say) that Luuuuuukee continues to play tournament's with "weaker fields" (protect the ranking/milk the purse)! Last week is most "weaker" than this week!!!
    Question..Would you want to be "my boy" facing pathetic/ridiculous questions pre-tournament, I thought he showed a different side by that "online" Q/A..Even Iain suggested as much!!!
    But as for "Doof"......1st win, bit of a "Rocky"...I wonder what happened to him...Maybe he can achieve greater things!?
    PPS.. They're only your knives Don!!!!
    PPPS...Nice to see you in cyber land with your cocoa!

  • Comment number 80.

    @74 Mattefc........Ok, I'll try. The golf season doesn't start in April and finish in October any more. Those days have gone. It's all year round. 40 years ago this week, John Jacobs founded the European Tour playing the first event outside the UK at Pals on the Costa Brava. Now we have one ET event this year in the UK and Asia has 12 or 13. Pro golf plays all year round the whole globe and Rory McIlroy should be around for the next 18-23 years competing. Time's on his side and he now knows what it takes to win a biggie. There's some good players out there that don't yet. So don't burn out. Relax, keep doing what you're doing, don't change your swing, keep working your short game. If he was my player or son I wouldn't get him to change a thing.
    Hope that makes it clearer.
    Maybe Ian's next blog will be about John Jacobs and what great vision he had. Not on Rory's schedule which will always lead to posts about girlfriend chat, visits to meet Obama and Hello magazine.

  • Comment number 81.

    @79 Matt....I don't think that LD puts himself into weaker fields just to milk points etc. He has plenty to try and protect. Again it is up to him what schedule is best for him. He KNOWS he needs to win a major to be considered a success in some peoples eyes. He is working towards this.
    As regards TW, if he didn't do the daft things on course then he couldn't be asked the daft questions. If he wanted to do a Q&A why didn't he do it "live" with real fans ?

  • Comment number 82.

    @80 EL G. Agreed that the Euro tour has grown out of all recognition. In reality it's now a world tour with 3-5 (depending on your view) segments.

    If the blog mentions RMcs schedule then surely it's correct to comment on what that contains even if you deem it trivial, no ?

  • Comment number 83.

    #61, mattefc,
    The Honda earned #2 50 owgr points. The Transitions earned #1 58 pts.

    NOLA was worth 52 pts to Dufner. Quail Hollow will be worth about about 56 or perhaps 58 pts pending any further withdrawals.

    I think you'll find it's pretty much a wash. Fact is both players understandably play where they feel the course is best suited to them; imagine strength of field is the last thing on their minds.

  • Comment number 84.

    Last week the field at the us event was not that weak Matt, Ells, stricker, Kucher, simpson, fowler, oh and Bubba, ok not the field for this weeks event but enough talent there and he got to number one again by finishing third.

  • Comment number 85.

    Well I know I'm a Don247 fanboy (although I definitely don't agree with all his opinions) but, as always Don, excellent posts - Definite agree with #76 "Well played, Luuuke!". After his abject display in The Masters (I had money on him), he comes back and is back as world number 1 again. Obviously good-sized cojones.

    Jimmy, is the prediction thingy still in operation? - I missed a week then Iain had a week off, so no communication from us non-Facebookers, and last week seemed so quiet I didn't bother.

    Goodnight to the night-shift - I'm chillin' out now, listening to George Thorogood with a large glass of merlot by my right hand.

  • Comment number 86.

    @81 Wibb...What daft things are you referring to, Bobby Jones, Arnold etc threw their clubs so much it took the USGA to intervene years ago. You tell me the last field in the States (reg tourny) that he played with a stronger field? Just my opinion but he is maximising his "kudos" and IN MY DON HUMBLE PIE OPINION his ranking...I mean the guy is number 1 in the world, why would he play last week and miss this week with players like Woods, Mickelson, McIlroy, Westwood etc etc in the field.....Surely he wants to "beat the best fields" as the majorless number 1?????!!!!

  • Comment number 87.

    Matt @68. I agree with you and to be honest I wasnt really having a go at Iain. It was a coherant and well reasoned piece and it touched on a topic that has been brought up several times in a blog. I dont know if it is deliberate but it may have been written as a direct response to some of the comments over previous weeks.

    My point was merely that us bloggers, commenters, call us what you like have no place criticizing Mcilroy or any other players for that matter on the schedule they choose to take and the way they choose to pursue their career. Other people clearly think they do, its just a difference of opinion.

  • Comment number 88.

    861 - Yes predictions are still in operation but the week that there was no blog there were no predictions so nobody missed out on having the opportunity to post predictions

  • Comment number 89.

    @86 Matt....If the USGA intervened for 2 of the other greats why not for TW ? I'm not knocking him as a golf player, it's his whole persona I don't like / get. As someone who young players aspire to play like, and or emulate, he could do so much better.
    As for LD, maybe Mrs D needs a hand looking after the new baby ?

  • Comment number 90.

    Matt - I would be interested to know where you got that info about Bobby Jones, and where the stories or anecdotes can be found. I must admit to being surprised by your revelation just because i had always heard of him as being one of the great gentlemen of the game.

    Less surprised about Arnie, i have heard he could be a hot headed young buck back in the days when he wasn't an old git :-)

  • Comment number 91.

    Jimmy...Hope you had a good time "in my neck of the w***s", Just google it mate It's all there......Sad day as the greatest snooker player announces his retirement!!

  • Comment number 92.

    #86: mattefc,
    As stated above, the Transitions field was stronger than the Honda.
    This week's field is only very marginally stronger than last week's.
    You may be prejudiced against Luke Donald, but don't deny the facts. To suggest Donald avoids stronger fields is utterly ludicrous.

  • Comment number 93.

    The 4 mnute mile barrier was broken on a well organised 'training' run
    Now the record is 3:43.13 minutes.....made in competition.
    It's the competition, the pressure, the barrier that makes champions - out of winners

  • Comment number 94.

    Not sure which camp this puts me in but ultimately my view (humble or not) is that much of a player's schedule is set out well in advance of the season starting especially once they have decided which tour is the priority.
    None of this can then be done knowing what the other (rival) players are going to do unless they happen to be under the same management. As an unashamed Westwood fan, it was interesting to see he skipped defending in South Korea last week to rest up before playing (for the first time I think) Wells Fargo as a run in to the Players... ie. new/different schdule to achieving HIS goals.
    Who knows - maybe Luke did this last year, didn't perform and is trying a different route to Lee. Rory too... each to their own!
    #67 El Guaje... I like your thoughts re pairings at Augusta - Rory and Sergio too pally and dragging one another down. Always remember players complained Faldo never spoke on course... but none of them would have complained if they had his haul of Majors. Good point EG... perhaps 'our boys' (whoever your favourite may be) should be a bit more aloof/distant in order to get over the line more often.
    That said, El Guaje, you then accused Don of "rambling and talking utter drivel"... some of us hang on his every word you know!

  • Comment number 95.

    F.A.O Jimmy

    Picks for this week are;

    Spain - G Storm, R Fisher, N Colsaerts

    USA - J Furyk, J Huh, R McIlroy


    @94 CFC....The "top" pros can change their schedule, a la Donald last year and the Disney tournament. As long as they declare by the deadline they can enter any competion they like. What would be interesting to know is that if a "top" player suddenly entered a tournament last minute, does this push players out who may have to play in order to try and secure their card ?

  • Comment number 96.

    @94 cfcboy23....that's why talk of McIlroy's schedule doesn't really hold much interest for me. These players are trying to cover the globe and they have 12 months to visit most parts. I like Westwood but two weeks ago he's playing and winning in Indonesia against a low class field (no disrespect meant).
    http://www.asiantour.com/result.aspx?rnd_caption=Final%20Results%20and%20Earnings&rnd_event=20111024354595683621
    Why? I've got no idea. Maybe a sponsorship deal, course building later on, deals, appearance money, no idea but he played there last year as well so he must have his reasons when to me it looks a non-event. But it's his schedule and a lot of thought and reasoning will have gone into it.
    Might be more interesting to have a look at Tiger's schedule and the lack of tournaments he plays in when surely he needs to get that new swing under the pressure of tournament golf if he is to achieve his ultimate goal. IMO the last time I looked at him his practice swing looks new, working the fade and then when he sets up 90% of his tee shots are with the old swing or a new confused swing and the results are the same. Faldo played through all the swing changes.

  • Comment number 97.

    Some interesting responses this week. I'd like to stress that I believe there isn't much wrong with McIlroy's scheduling - most of it makes sense when you consider the hectic late summer/autumn period of FedEx Cup and Ryder Cup as well as making up tournament numbers on E Tour. My only quibble is with the length of time he takes off before the Masters and the Open, especially when it seems his best recent results have come when he has played consecutive weeks. I also think that his relationship with Caroline has been revelatory and encouraged him to train harder at both golf and fitness.

  • Comment number 98.

    Iain
    It's great to see you reply,which shows that you care about the responses the Blog gets,but on a more serious note :

    Have you got anywhere with regards to the golf Day ? I'm sure a man of your influence could even persuade a certian Mr Alliss to join us, as well as the whole commentary team,which I'm sure would be a great day out and could be done in aid of sport/comic relief as we do have a few comedians on here.

  • Comment number 99.

    Picks:

    Quail: Mahan, Woods, De Jonge

    Espana: Quiros, Lawrie, Jimenez

  • Comment number 100.

    Some interesting comments over night, nice to see Don's disection of the current Wozzilroy situation.

    Rory is young, he has won a major, won on both tours, pots of cash and a lovely lady on his arm. He has looked after his family and deserves to enjoy the limelight of meeting presidents, queens, other famous people. At 22 he will be starstruck and it will affect his game.

    One only has to hope once he has had his fill of the good life he will come back with greater desire to be #1 for a long time and win more majors (not suggesting he does not aim to do these things, but perhaps the lifestyle that goes with such aims would need to change)

    He is gearing himself up for a push at the fed-ex playoffs and end of year autumn riches tournaments. As Iain has pointed out his prep for the Open and its US counterpart is not necessarily the best from us mere mortal onlookers - however time will tell if that is right or not. He might think that the USPGA is his better chance of a major this year and that he wants to be in with a shout of the fed ex playoffs.

    So question for all fellow bloggers out there: Is the Fed-Ex Cup, or will it, start to be more prominenet than the majors???? The ranking points for the end of season get ratcheted up, and for winning a couple of year end tournaments you can earn $10mill........(sounds easy doesnt it)

 

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