Rory McIlroy starts lucrative tour of Asia hunting for form
Ernie Els once described this as the time of year when you get out the wheelbarrow, hitch it to the private jet, take it round the golfing globe and fill it with appearance money.
The theory is that most of the sport's important titles have already been decided. Now it's time to cash in on the position you have earned in the game.
Els said it only once.
His trademark honesty was regarded as rather distasteful by some but his words carry an element of truth.
This week Rory McIlroy embarks on a lucrative tour of Asia. For him, though, the emphasis is more centred on form than finance.
Such a scenario certainly was not envisaged when he drew up his schedule earlier in the year. The former world number one would have expected much more from what has been
an awful season.
4 May 1989
Plays first European pro tour event at 16
Makes European Tour cut for first time
Leading amateur at Open
McIlroy turns pro
Wins first pro title
Plays his first major as pro - Masters
Finishes tied third at US PGA
Wins first PGA title
Wins first major - US Open
Wins US PGA
McIlroy failed to make the top 30 on the PGA Tour and so didn't qualify for
last month's Tour Championship.
This means he has not played competitively in four weeks.
The 24-year-old lies 60th on the
European Tour's Race to Dubai.
The earning opportunities at the upcoming BMW Masters and HSBC Champions events in Shanghai should be enough for him to scrape into the Tour's finale in the Middle East.
This week his wheelbarrow will be stuffed with a reported £940,000 appearance fee at the Korean Open which heralds the start of a hectic month in Asia.
The current world number six leaves behind an unsettling set of circumstances. His lawyers are at Dublin High Court,
taking on his former agent,
while his PR team fend off enquiries over the end of his two-year relationship with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.
"You can't have managerial problems, you can't have women problems. You've got to have a free mind."
On the upside, McIlroy seems to have spent his recent time away from competitive golf sorting out his affairs. Crucially he has
established his own management structure
which should enable him to prioritise his golf.
Leave the rest to the experts. Let them do their stuff in the courtrooms and press briefings.
On the course the Northern Irishman has to allow his clubs to do the talking. His
new Nike sticks
need to be more fluent than they have been in this stuttering season.
One runner-up finish and only three more top-10s has been a poor return for someone who began the year at the top of the golfing world.
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