Tag: pga

Rory McIlroy: Breaking The Cycle

Rory McIlroy: Breaking The Cycle

Rory McIlroy’s quick fire achievement’s at the launch of his professional career saw him become a hugely popular winner, as he captured three out of the four major Golf championships available by the tender age of twenty five. A feat only shared with the most esteemed company, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.

Such early whirlwind success suggested that it would simply be a matter of time before he would round off his growing collection with a Masters green jacket, joining only five other players to complete the coveted grand slam.

What has transpired since those heady early heights has been quite the opposite however, as he has continues to flounder at not only Augusta, but also at a host of other major tournaments in his quest to add to his trophy haul. Time and again it seems as if he presses the self destruct button whenever the winning post rears its head on the horizon.

To his credit he has picked up a number of victories on the PGA tour, but despite being a perennial top five finisher, it seems that it’s major competition where he has developed a serious mental block, as his killer instinct continues to elude him when it matters most, with his last victory coming at the PGA Championship in 2015.

It is tricky to surmise as to how Rory can halt this crippling trend which continues to plague his game to this very day. This has been a considerable source of frustration for the man himself, as he continues to scrutinise his own performances in his forage for solutions and answers.

There is surely no reason why one of the most naturally gifted players in the world cannot reclaim the glories of yesteryear, as all his performances are lacking is the ability to convert the chances that he creates for himself in the final straight.

This crucial ruthlessness is something that he has exhibited on many occasions in the earlier stages of his career, so it is more a case of reawakening this characteristic inside of himself, rather than reinventing the wheel.

He certainly isn’t lacking in any physical aspect as his distances from tee to green are a match for any of his fellow competitors, so I feel that it is the psychological side of his game that will need tweaking with in his attempt to return to the promise land.

This may be a far more reliable strategy than trying to emulate his fellow competitors, as he recently attempted to mimic Golf’s pantomime villain Bryson Dechambeau in order to gain more length off the tee. He later publicly declared that this was an unmitigated disaster, leaving his swing in ruins.

Rory’s initial rise to superstardom culminated in him replacing the iconic Tiger Woods as the face of the PGA tour video game franchise, which in turn has seen his fanbase and brand grow exponentially over the years. This may well have compounded his issues in recent times as the obligation to be a viable commercial commodity for his sponsors may well have taken a sizeable toll.

This status as a household name in the sport comes hand in hand with great expectation, which can only serve to stove the fire of internal pressure that every player must already deal with.

Unfortunately his inability to land the big prizes has now become the primary narrative whenever he steps onto a Golf course, as the burden that is heaped onto his shoulders at every event is now only akin to Tiger Woods in his pomp.

Golf requires an innate ability to perform under pressure and be able to maintain composure at the most pivotal of moments. So in order for Rory to replicate his earlier triumphs it may be time for him to try and rediscover the relaxed care free attitude that propelled him to so much success to begin with.

I feel that he should also draw great strength from his friend and fellow countryman Darren Clarke, who finally captured his first major trophy at the grand age of fourty two at The Open in 2011. His own unwavering self belief finally dragging him over the line despite toiling in Golf major mediocrity for over twenty years.

Therefore I believe that it is paramount that Rory continues to keep faith in himself and his undeniable genius, with it high time he released the shackles that he has straddled his own mind with over the last seven years.

This may bring a sense of joy and freedom to his game, as he already has a major trophy haul that many of his fellow professionals would be proud to call their own.

He also has father time on his side at the age of thirty to rediscover his own enjoyment of the game, which I also feel is a vital ingredient in an often volatile sport that manage’s to infuriate even the finest of players at times.

With the new major season now set to begin in earnest, we will see him continue his hunt for championship prosperity with a shot at that elusive US Masters title at Augusta in April.

With his likeable demeanor and raw enthusiasm for the sport it would be difficult to imagine a more well received recipient of a major title this year if the Northern Irishman can finally overcome the demons that have blighted his game for far too long.

Rory’s psyche will no doubt be placed under intense scrutiny at this competition and throughout 2022 by the media and the unforgiving nature of the sport itself.

Yet, it is my hope that he comes out swinging with renewed vigor and mental clarity, as he looks to finally conquer his own personal Everest and make his long awaited return to the pinnacle of the game once more.

Regardless of the outcome, the ground swell of support for him will surely continue to expand, as his status amongst enthusiasts of the sport has never been defined by merely silverware alone.

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Bryson Dechambeau: Hero Or Villain?

Bryson Dechambeau: Hero Or Villain?

Bryson Dechambeau’s emergence as a force to be reckoned with on Golf’s grandest stages has been met with both enthusiasm and apathy in equal measure. With his recent maiden major victory at the US Open it is abundantly clear that this is a player who must now be feared at any major championship.

Bryson’s controversial approach to the sport has divided as many opinions as the man himself has fairways, with his brutal trademark power off the tee. Which in itself raises valid arguments on both ends of the spectrum, in terms of the impact his style of play will eventually have on the game of Golf.

Nicknamed “The Scientist” Bryson has attempted to remove the emotion and artistry from the game, and many feel that this is its vital foundation. A sport raised on romance and flair which made the likes of Seve Ballesteros such a popular champion within his lifetime. The great entertainer who thrilled crowds with his warm personality and a magical range of Golf shots that would be deemed inconceivable by so many, yet Seve pulled them off with great gusto on route to five major championships.

In stark contrast we now have Bryson Dechambeau, who’s power based approach is nullifying the challenges that the golf course is supposed to present the player with. His distances are outstripping his rivals off the tee and it is simply becoming a game of pitch and putt on each hole for him, as hitting the fairway is no longer the prerequisite. This was clearly evident in his victory at the US Open at Winged Foot, where he hit just 23 of 56 fairways at a course deemed by many to be a stern test for even the most accomplished and decorated Golfers.

Bryson’s average distance off the tee is a staggering 323 yards, and according to statistics he has covered 67 percent of all courses yardage off the tee this season. This is where the controversy surrounding the man continues to rage as purists will suggest that he is sabotaging the sport.

In many ways you can certainly see it from this perspective as we have watched the game over many years be decided on having the ability to visualise shots that use the contours and undulations of the course to find the end result, which can result in a fascinating days play for the spectator. Meanwhile Dechambeau simply bulldozes his way through each hole with no real concern in regards to hitting fairways.

What is evident though and is sometimes disregarded by many, is his solid putting and deft approach play with his wedges. His faultless display at Winged Foot on the final day was a fine testament to that fact and left him the only man under par for the day at a tournament where many derided his approach as foolhardy for such a unrelenting venue.

Interestingly so he is also the only man on the PGA tour to have all his irons and wedges cut to the same length in order to cut down on differentials in his game, which further facilitates his machine like approach to the sport. This has certainly given many food for thought, as yet again Bryson has reached outside the box in order to find solutions to the endlessly complex yet hugely satisfying game of Golf.

His driving technique is similar to those that compete in purely long drive contests and whether this technique can be upheld by him remains to be seen. It is something that is bound to place serious strain on the human body with such velocity placed into the swing. Yet at this juncture it is a method that has delivered Dechambeau the results that he so desires, and it cannot be denied that his name will reside alongside the all time greats on the US Open trophy.

Watch Dechambeu’s ridiculous power first hand.

Inspired by his fellow professional Brooks Koepka power based game, it was Dechambeau who took the concept and blasted it into another stratosphere, as without question his dedication and commitment must be commended as he has placed great emphasis in transforming his physical appearance over the last two years. Morphing from a slight, slender Golfer to a hulking powerhouse which can only be achieved through sheer commitment and desire. The man himself is very vocal on the fact that he works out meticulously every day, whilst following a diet structured towards performance rather than pleasure.

Pre-pandemic Bryson had packed on 20lbs in muscle mass and claims to have added another 20lb in weight during the suspension of the current season during lockdown, which has been a huge contributing factor to his now mammoth distance on the Golf course.

Bryson himself has declared that he wishes to inspire a new generation with his maverick approach to the sport. However, if the game is to be headed into these new unchartered waters it would surely seem sensible to put into place a anti-doping system across the sport, as Dechambeau and many other pretenders to his throne may look for any slight edge that will propel them to fame and fortune. Without doubt steroid abuse could become apparent in the game, and as with any sport it would be wrong and detrimental to have any championships decided by the dark arts.

His studious and calculated approach to every aspect of the game has also led to criticism of slow play amongst his fellow professionals. As a fan it can admittedly be challenging to watch, but as long as the man himself stays clean it is difficult to begrudge him his first major victory due to his innovation and sheer desire in the pursuit of glory.

Many times he is seen practicing late night on the range at major competitions, with relentless sessions focusing on the ability to hit the same shot over and over again faultlessly more than anyone else, which ultimately is what the game is all about when you strip it back to its bare bones.

Furthermore, it will be interesting to witness how the man himself copes with the scrutiny his new found status in the game brings him when spectators are eventually allowed to make their comeback.

Seemingly he has conquered the physical aspects of the game, but in my opinion it is telling that he captured his first major without fans in attendance. There is no doubt that his win must be respected and he is no stranger to success with nine tour victories under his belt. However, with fans in attendance at a major tournament it becomes a new breed of animal as it creates a cacophony of pressure that some players thrive on and others succumb to. Thus, upon their eventual return it will be fascinating to see if he also possesses the vital mental ingredients in his quest to topple the Golfing world.

Despite not being the greatest advocate of his game, I certainly feel that his incredible endeavour to improve and find solutions to the equations that Golf presents is admirable. It is something that has never been utilised in the game ever before and that in itself makes for compelling viewing.

However, I feel that we must tread incredibly carefully as the game may look and feel vastly different in years to come if Bryson’s novel style is cloned enough by future participants in the sport.

With that in mind we can only look forward with excitement as to how his fellow tour professionals will look to combat his unique tactics on the golf course, and ultimately hope that the game itself upholds its deep rooted integrity.

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