Rory McIlroy's terrible play of late has led to people trying to lay blame on things like his switch to Nike clubs, wisdom tooth pain and now his relationship, or lack thereof, with Caroline Wozniacki.
The speculation of his problems with Wozniacki started after Rory walked off the course on the ninth hole of his second round at the Honda Classic. He was seven over through eight holes on the day, and he wasn't going to make the cut.
Upon leaving the course, he didn't elaborate to reporters much more than saying he was not "in a good place mentally" (via the Associated Press).
Wisdom tooth pain was later admitted as the reason for leaving the course, and Rory apologized for his actions. That doesn't change the fact that walking off the course was peculiar for McIlroy, and his excuse was lame.
This, and some other evidence, led to the UK’s Independent publishing a story wondering if problems with tennis-star girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki were really to blame.
Along with his on-course struggles and his early exit, the story cites Wozniacki's first-round exit at the Malaysian Open. It was arguably the worst loss of her career.
It also notes that the two usually trade comments on Twitter but hadn't for "several days."
On Wednesday, Rory was asked about any possible problems with his relationship. Sports Illustrated passed along his quote telling everyone their relationship was fine, and they were going to see each other soon.
Now, I have no idea whether they are having problems. I'm inclined to take Rory at his word. That doesn't mean they couldn't have had a rocky time this past week.
I think anyone who has been through heartache knows it can be hard to focus on anything else, and it can lead to poor performances.
However, honestly, when it comes to Rory's golf game, his issues go far beyond any potential problems with Wozniacki.
Rory hasn't been right all year. In his limited schedule, he has yet to play a single round anywhere near what he is capable of, and his scores would be worse were it not for his short game still being solid.
These prolonged problems are the result of a faltering swing. To his credit, Rory knows it. ESPN passed along this quote from McIlroy:
I've worked my a** off over the last four or five days to really try and get this right. It's still a work in progress—there's no quick fixes in golf.
So I'm not putting any pressure on myself this week to perform. I just want to get my swing in the right position, and I know that when I do, the results will follow.
Rory is getting his hands too far away on his takeaway and getting too upright on the follow-through, and he is right that there are no easy fixes in golf. One fix can lead to a new problem, and there will always be issues with inconsistency.
Now, compare that to his swing from last year.
It will be a battle for Rory to fix his swing, but make no mistake about it, that is what he needs to fix to get back on top of his game.
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