NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 2, 2013

Frustrated McIlroy walks off course at Honda

(Continued)

for the week.”

McIlroy, coming off a year in which he won a second major with a record, already set himself up for scrutiny when he

left Titleist to sign an equipment deal with Nike that was said to be worth upward of $20 million a year. Instead of taking a long winter break, he spent much of December trying to adjust to his new clubs.

McIlroy said Tuesday it wasn’t the clubs; his swing was out of sorts.

“I’m

sure the guy has got a lot on his mind,” McDowell said. “When you start

trying to prove things to other people and you stop playing for yourself, it’s a dangerous place to be. ... Any player would have did what he’s done with regard to the equipment change. He’s one of the most

talented players I’ve ever seen. Once he starts believing in himself,

he’ll be back.”

McIlroy won the PGA

Championship by a record eight shots last year, making him the youngest player since Seve Ballesteros in 1980 to win two majors. McIlroy won the

U.S. Open in 2011 by eight shots with a record score.

Nike introduced him with blaring music and a laser show in Abu Dhabi, but it’s been all downhill from there.

After

rounds of 75-75 in Abu Dhabi, he took a four-week break and spent time

with tennis girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki. He was eliminated at Match Play in a sloppy performance by both of them. McIlroy returned to

Florida and played 36 holes with Tiger Woods at The Medalist.

He said on Tuesday that it was no time to panic so early in the season.

“Even

though my results haven’t revealed it, I really felt like I was

rounding a corner,” McIlroy said. “This is one of my favorite

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