Every since Rory McIlroy missed the cut at Abu Dhabi last month, some of the old timers who have went through manufacturer changes like the the young Northern Irishman has made with his equipment, have been lamenting the problems of doing so. The comparison goes back to David Duval, who was at the peak of his career when he made the switch to Nike in 1999.
Duval’s swing, and confidence took a nose dive that he never recovered from. In fact he still struggles when playing in PGA events, and that has been 14 years. Sandy Lyle is the latest to voice his concern, calling McIlroy’s $250 Million decision, a risky one that could produce a “Kamikaze Dive”. Nick Price had a problem with the decision as soon as the LeBron James like unveiling happened prior to the Abu Dhabi tournament.
I’m not sure I agree with Lyle’s observation. I remember when Duval was the king of golf, and always wondered how much his penchant for body building, and the emergence of Tiger Woods had to do with his decline. Did the lack of confidence in his driver and fairway woods cause his downfall, or did Tiger?
Too many times, professional golfers talk about the horrors of putting on too much muscle at the threat of not being limber anymore. Golfers need to have full movement of the their body. With today’s fitness knowledge, trainers are careful to not over-develop players in areas that can cause a problem. In 1999 when Duval was getting his guns, I don’t think they totally had that knowledge, and Duval wanted to be chiseled.
With Phil Mickelson, and Tiger Woods finding their golf games, it could possibly be a tough year for McIlroy. Although he has become popular, as well as having one of the best games on either tour, I’m not sure this was the right time to throw his game into the abyss that encompasses a lack of confidence. With players like Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson, and Keegan Bradley finding their games, Rory could possibly find some real competition this year when he comes to play. He won’t get too many more opportunities to win a PGA Championship by eight strokes again.
When Rory said in his press conference after the unveiling that he was more interested in wins and trophies, and not the money doesn’t ring true now. Maybe he thought he could switch brands without any consequences, but this year will be a real test to see if he can avoid the Kamikaze Dive.
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