SAN ANTONIO – Enjoying incredible success at an early age. Reaching No. 1 in the world. Becoming one of the faces of Nike Golf.
As McIlroy has learned during this transitional season, he also must learn how to deal with being subjected to the same kind of scrutiny that Woods has endured since he turned pro in 1996.
The latest (and probably not the last) example was his 11th-hour decision to enter this week’s Valero Texas Open.
Some applauded the Northern Irishman for altering his schedule and padding his competitive-rounds played total (currently at 12 1/2). Others said TPC San Antonio was a poor choice to find his game, and that he would have been better off playing Innisbrook or Bay Hill.
“I think people want to make a story out of most things, and to get people to read it, it has to be exaggerated to some extent,” he said Wednesday. “For me, I’m a person that doesn’t really overthink things. If I want to play the week before the Masters, I play the week before the Masters. I want to go out there and play well this week. There is not really anything more to it than that.”
And it’s not just McIlroy that has come under fire. His management team also has faced extra scrutiny, particularly in the aftermath of McIlroy’s walk-off during the second round of the Honda Classic.
“I think at the end of the day, most of the decisions are down to myself,” McIlroy said, “so I don’t think that people around me, especially not my parents or people closest to me, they shouldn’t be scrutinized or criticized at all.
“But I think what we’re dealing with and what’s going on in my life now is new to everyone around me, and it’s a learning experience and it’s a learning curve and you learn every day. If we weren’t learning and we weren’t making mistakes, then there would be something wrong. I’m very happy with everything that’s going on around me.”