With a little more than a month until the beginning of The Masters, some of the biggest names in the world of golf have yet to hit their stride in 2013. At the top of that list would have to be Rory McIlroy, who is still the number one ranked golfer in the world, despite the fact that he withdrew from last week’s Honda Classic. The reason for his early departure, just halfway through the second round, was severe pain in his wisdom tooth that impacted his ability to concentrate. It apparently had nothing to do with the fact that he was seven over par through eight holes and had just hit two balls in the water on his ninth hold of the day.
Wisdom tooth pain aside, to say that McIlroy has failed to live up to expectations thus far n 2013 would be an understatement of epic proportions. In two events on the PGA Tour this year, he failed to make it past the first round in the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship and withdrew after one and a half rounds at the Honda Classic.
He hasn’t fared much better on the European Tour, either. In his only appearance so far this year, he failed to make the cut at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship after posting successive rounds of 75 over the first two days.
Even giving him the benefit of the doubt that some of his problems have been caused by this just recently reported wisdom tooth pain, McIlroy’s game has not been good this year. There were many people who thought that he might struggle a bit with the switch to Nike clubs, but I don’t think anyone could have predicted this level of mediocrity this far into the season. It’s clear that McIlroy isn’t comfortable with his new gear and that is causing him to lack confidence and second guess himself, which is death for a golf game.
McIlroy needs to take some time and clear his mind (in addition to getting those pesky wisdom teeth removed). Hopefully for him, a clear mind means a renewed sense of confidence on the golf course, which will translate into a few solid performances leading up to The Masters. His talent hasn’t disappeared, so he needs to get to the root of his problem and get it fixed. Quickly.