By Brian Keogh
Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following excerpt from Brian’s Irish Golf Desk is used with permission.
Rory McIlroy has never felt more prepared for The Open Championship but he admits his freaky Friday form is getting into his head. The former world No 1 has had seven nightmares this season when he’s shot 40 or more for nine holes.
But with six of those seven disasters coming on Friday–the most recent of them just last week when he followed an opening 64 in the Scottish Open with a horrific 78–he admits he’s got a major mental problem to tackle. Asked if his Friday scoring trend is starting to mess with his head, he said: “Yes, I think it is. And it’s a trend I’d like to stop this week.
“I think I just got it into my head and I may be putting a bit too much pressure on myself, going out on Fridays and trying to back up a score. I have no problem shooting a low one on Thursday, so there should be no reason I have any problem shooting a low one on Friday.
“As I say, I think I just got into my head and I need to go out and pretend like it’s a Thursday again.”
McIlroy has the best first round record in golf, averaging 68.15 this year. But his second-round scoring average of 72.23 is one of the worst of anyone on the major tours.
Last week’s disaster in Scotland was not his first reverse of the year. He followed a 63 with a 78 in the Memorial Tournament and adding that 78 to his course record 64 just last week was not what he needed coming into The Open.
To put his performances in perspective, McIlroy is 51 under par in the first round this year, 19 under in the third round and 20 under on the final day. But in the second round he’s an eye-popping nine over par.
At a loss to explain how he can halt the freaky Friday syndrome, he said: “I don’t know, but it’s more going out and not thinking about it and really trying to get off it to a solid start. You’ve got to just play a few solid holes and get your round underway that way.
“So hopefully this week I can start to turn that second-round thing around and start shooting some better scores.”
Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.