Skip to main content

G-Mac: Expectations not equipment McIlroy's hurdle

Rory McIlroy in the 2013 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship second round
Getty Images

Graeme McDowell hasn’t played a tournament in 10 weeks, since his impressive victory at the World Challenge.

Much has changed since then, of course. Dustin Johnson reminded observers of his awe-inspiring talent. Tiger Woods won his fourth title in his last 16 PGA Tour starts. Vijay Singh admitted to using a banned substance. And Phil Mickelson capped a near-historic week with a four-shot victory in Phoenix.

Oh, and there was one high-profile disappointment – Rory McIlroy’s season debut in Abu Dhabi, which was cut short after two rounds of 75.

McDowell, who is teeing it up at next week’s Northern Trust Open, said that the biggest challenge that his good friend faces with the equipment switch to Nike is simply mental.

“When you’re as talented as Rory McIlroy, I don’t really care what your driver says, don’t care what your iron says or what your golf ball says,” McDowell said Monday on “Morning Drive.” 

“When you’re as good as he is, it’s a transition that should be pretty straightforward for him to make. The biggest hurdle that he has right now is in his mind, the pressure that is put on him by the world media, by people, and most importantly that he’s put on himself from inside him. You’ve just got to get across the hurdle of playing well a few times with the new equipment.

“He’s a talented kid. I’ve never seen a guy make the game look so easy. It doesn’t matter what it says on the back of his iron. He’ll be OK, and it’s just a matter of time before he settles down and comes to terms with what’s in his heads in regards to the pressures he’s created for himself.”