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Dublin: 9 °C Friday 25 April, 2014

Nick Faldo’s advice to Rory McIlroy ahead of The Open: ‘Concentrate on golf’

The six-time Major winner says the Northern Irishman can enjoy the finer things in life once he retires.

Rory McIlroy watches girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki in practice at the Aegon championships.
Rory McIlroy watches girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki in practice at the Aegon championships.
Image: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

RORY MCILROY HAS been in Scotland for two weeks, ever since he missed the cut at the Irish Open, and feels he is close to a top performance breakthrough. We have heard these words before but the 24-year-old is capable of running wild once his game clicks.

The latest golfing great to weigh into the debate — and only because he was asked — is six-time Major winner Nick Faldo. The Englishman, who won The Open three times between 1987 and 1992, has ruled himself out of winning this year and appeared to do likewise when asked of McIroy’s chances.

“I’m either going to win by six or be stuck in the hay somewhere,” he remarked. “Somewhere in between.”

Faldo believes that McIlroy is still “testing” the array of new Nike clubs on offer. With Muirfield set to test the brightest and best of the golfing world, the former Ryder Cup captain has advised the world number two to shelf experiments until The Open concludes. He said:

You better be laying it here.  You’ve got to hit it solid.  Anything, mis‑hits, the bounce is 30 yards off line or it’s in the hay.  There’s no options here.”

Faldo feels Justin Rose, who won the US Open last month, is a strong contender to claim his first Claret Jug but noted that the world number one, Tiger Woods is struggling to overcome a mental block when it comes to the Major championships. McIlroy, on the other hand, has a host of issues he must compartmentalise if he wants to add to his two Major successes.

Faldo said, “I actually think it’s a lot going on in his mind… I always felt, my career went on, I got involved in business and other things.  Once your concentration goes — you need 100 percent concentration, off the golf course, practicing, as well. Most ideal I can thing is to go to the club, 9:00 in the morning, hit balls all day long, and you leave at 5pm.”

“You have a window of opportunity,” Faldo added. “That’s my only words of wisdom to Rory. You have say 20‑year window as an athlete.  Concentrate on golf, nothing else. Hopefully when you retire, 40s, 50s, hopefully you have another 40 years to enjoy it. So just concentrate on golf.”

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