Golf Psychology: Rory McIlroy – Unconscious!

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Golf Psychology‘Brain Dead’. ‘Unconscious’. It’s Rory McIlroy explaining away his eight over par, victory limiting opening round at Muirfield today.

Coming into The Open, most golfers are usually very well-prepared. They see the tournament as the peak of their golfing year, and want to leave nothing to chance.

So, they may spend time with a golf psychologist, working through a range of game dynamics that they could face and how they will deal with them.

They will make sure their pre and post shot routines are in good order. They will check that they are seeing their targets clearly and committing fully to their shots. They will visualize the golf course, and play a range of shots in their heads at each hole.

In short, by the time the tournament begins, they will aim to feel in tune with their own game and the golf course. And that their processes are robust enough to stand the pressure that comes on the final day of a Major.

Clearly Rory McIlroy hasn’t done too much of this kind of mental preparation. If he had, he wouldn’t be feeling brain dead. But the admittance of his mental shortcomings is a good first step to resolving them.

Sir Nick Faldo appears to be right, when he observed that Rory wasn’t as focused as he should be. It suggests distractions or other committments, are negating his ability to prepare like a champion.

Perhaps the rock-bottom feeling that will have come today at Carnoustie, will be a wake up call for the talented McIlroy. Give him the rocket he needs to clear his head and re-connect to his dreams.

Re-connect to the reason why he plays the game. Not for the corporate endorsement and the dollar, the deustchmark and the yen. But the ability to do extraordinary things that test your skill to the maximum.

Rory McIlroy has had a great start to his golf career. But he needs to ensure that he doesn’t become the Wayne Rooney of his sport. Unlimited talent that failed to reach the stratospheric levels initially hinted at.

With talent comes pressure and expectation. Strong inner alignements are essential to prevent those expectations eating away at the talent. Rory’s looks mentally fragile right now. It’s time to re-think what he is doing, what he wants to do, and how he wants to do it!