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Johnson grouped with Westwood and Strafaci for Masters title defense

The Telegraph

Rory McIlroy interview: 10 years on from changing the game — and that Masters meltdown

There is a saying in Georgia, ”no moolah with out the grueller” — translation: “no gain without pain” — however Rory McIlroy believes that not solely did he profit from his Augusta agonies of 2011, however that the sport as a complete modified on account of the fearless perspective of that curly-haired Belfast boy. On the tenth anniversary of these unforgettable scenes — when the 21-year-old front-runner instantly endured a Masters meltdown and shot a tear-stained 80 — it’s an intriguing concept on McIlroy’s behalf, which challenges the broadly accepted narrative that this ever-burgeoning era of boomers have been created by the Tiger Woods instance. No doubt, McIlroy says, the 15-time main winner impressed this thrilling youth motion, however in relation to their gung-ho fashion, he maintains that they’re extra Rory’s rookies than Tiger’s cubs. “If there’s one thing I started in the game, I think it’s that a lot of guys come out now and are playing very similar to me and how I’ve always played,” he says. “If you think of Tiger through the Noughties, it was a very conservative game plan, wasn’t a lot of drivers. “But then, I came out and I hit driver a bunch, really aggressive off the tee. And I feel like that has carried on. College players are being taught that way and they’re coming out and they’re hitting that miles. It’s funny because I was just doing it naturally, it’s just what I wanted to do, how I got my kicks. “But more and more players started doing it. It was the entire strokes-gained era thing as well. It made everyone realise that being able to do what I can do off the tee is a huge advantage. That wasn’t the case at the turn of the last decade.” The Rory rebuild: Pete Cowen’s to-do listing with McIlroy – however will it work? McIlroy and Mark Broadie make an uncommon duo within the energy revolution. While the previous is a person who left faculty at 15 to carve out his inexorable path to the elite finish of golf, the latter is a enterprise faculty professor and obsessed leisure golfer. At the identical time as McIlroy was making an attempt to put in writing that Masters fairytale that quickly become a nightmare, earlier than turning into the good US Open redemption epic, Broadie’s “shots gained” metric was being accepted by the PGA Tour as a extra correct analytical software than these usually misleading conventional “driver accuracy”, “greens hit” and “putts per round” measurements. By it by means of the prism of relativity — ie “shots gained on the rest of the field” — Broadie swung a titan head by means of some age-old myths. Chiefly “drive for show, putt for dough”. “It just wasn’t the case,” McIlroy stated. “I’m a big believer in stats…and strokes gained is the best stat that has come into our game for the last, well — ever.” Overnight, McIlroy’s god-given expertise and care-free philosophy was granted educational legitimacy. Of course, the brand new breed and their advisors would comply with and with the unrelenting, popularisation of TrackMan — the digital know-how with which gamers can overview key swing parameters together with ball pace, launch angle, spin price — the younger professional was now not in thrall to expertise. Everything she or he wished to know was proper there on the monitor. Instant professionals. Just add branded water. “We have so much more knowledge,” McIlroy stated. “I’m not saying back in 2011 players didn’t have any knowledge, but I just think with ‘shots gained’ with TrackMan, and just everything that they’re putting in place in terms of a backroom room team and physios and coaches and mental and their own chefs and all sorts of stuff… well they are seemingly taking it more seriously than ever, even though every top golfer has always taken it seriously. Players all have their own teams around them nowadays and that’s something that wasn’t that normal 10 years ago.” Is McIlroy a sufferer of his personal success, has he been engulfed by the brand new wave he helped generate? No skilled worthy of their very own self-belief would ever acknowledge such a factor and McIlroy prefers to look again by means of the last decade extra positively. Starting on that Sunday afternoon of April 10. “Sure, it hurt at the time — you can’t be four clear overnight, still be in contention at the turn, before taking a triple bogey on the 10th and struggling in with an 80, without it hurting,” he says. “And there were parts of it that were low and certainly I felt low as it unravelled. But a real low is what happened the year before at The Masters — I missed the cut. Compare that to getting into contention and leading at the Masters. “I was so close to doing something really great and when the fog clears you have to take that out of it. I’m big on taking the positives and moving on, but I’m also very big on the fact that you have to be a bit of a goldfish in golf. You need to have a very short memory.”

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