“So, I’m back up in the game,
(Running things like my swing),
Lettin’ all the people know,
That I’m back to run the show,”
The words of Mark Morrison have never been truer than this week for Rory McIlroy. It was looking as though the young Northern Irishman was going to go through the 2013 season without a ‘W’ to his name. Many things have come together to create the most perfect of storms and keep him out of the winner’s enclosure. Last week he came through with a superb fourth round effort to defeat the home favourite Adam Scott to win the Australian Open.
The 2012 season was huge for McIlroy. He became, for a period, world number one, he won the US Open, and he was a huge part of the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ Ryder Cup win. His stunt on the final day will go down as a great Ryder Cup moment. In the lull between seasons, Rory signed a huge contract with Nike and was going from strength to strength. He was riding the crest of a wave.
The 2013 season started. McIlroy was starting to attract Tiger Woods-like conversations like ‘how many majors will he win this year’ etc. It wasn’t the season he wanted. I’ve discussed what I think went wrong in a previous post (‘The Curse of the Equipment Sponsor Change’) but back then I thought it would be short-lived. Since he hit rock bottom by missing the cut at The Open Championship and saying he felt brain dead on the course, things have slowly started to pick up.
He has had many distractions this year. Many suggested that his now ex-girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki wasn’t good for his game, he had court cases with his former management team, and the growing expectations of his return. I have to say that since he split with Wozniacki his results have improved, read into that what you may. Since the summer I’ve noticed him putting together two or three good rounds but stuttering at the last hurdle but you could tell it was close.
Winning the Australian Open will be a great relief for McIlroy. I think more importantly than that the fashion in which he won, taking it down the last and pulling through against an in form Scott, will be huge too. I’ve maybe been hard on him this year but I have always said that one win will be enough to get him back on the straight and narrow. Onwards and upwards from here Rory, we need you at Gleneagles!