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Faldo downplays spat, ties Rory with opening 79

Nick Faldo
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GULLANE, Scotland – Nick Faldo on Thursday tried to downplay any spat with Rory McIlroy, saying that he is friends with the world No. 2 and that he was simply trying to give him a “little caring, loving help here.”

Faldo, an analyst for CBS Sports and Golf Channel who is playing in this week’s British Open, made headlines earlier this week when he said that McIlroy has a “window of opportunity” and that he should concentrate solely on golf, like a 9-to-5 job.

The 24-year-old McIlroy, who is in the midst of a season-long slump, didn’t appreciate those comments, however. He fired back at Sir Nick on Wednesday,saying, “He should know how hard this game is at times. He’s been in our position before. He should know how much work that we all do put into it.”

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After Faldo shot 79 in the opening round at Muirfield, he attempted to further explain his comments.

“There is your window as an athlete,” Faldo said. “When you’re a golfer, concentrate on your golf and then you have your charity. Just keep it minimal. I’m speaking from experience. Don’t go off into the business world, because he’s got tons of time for that. I got involved in business, and I know it completely changed my mindset. …

“Just give it your full attention, when you want to play golf. When you want to disappear and have a family and do other things, but don’t add anymore. I’m trying to give him a little caring, loving help here.”

Faldo continued by saying that he is a friend of McIlroy’s, and that he has known the Northern Irishman since he was 12 years old, coming up in the junior Faldo Series.

Like Faldo, McIlroy also shot 79 in the first round of the Open.