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McIlroy not fretting over slow start, increased scrutiny

Rory McIlroy in the 2013 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship news conference
Getty Images

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Rory McIlroy says he isn’t fretting over his slow start to the 2013 season.

The No. 1 ranked player is looking for some good mojo at his new American home to jump start the new year. 

He didn’t just win The Honda Classic last year. He vaulted to No. 1 in the world with the title. The Northern Irishman relished the South Florida atmosphere so much he bought a $10-million home two months ago in Palm Beach Gardens, just 10 minutes from PGA National, home to the Honda Classic.

McIlroy is looking to turn around some sluggish momentum this week. He started the year with a giant new endorsement deal with Nike and promptly missed the cut at Abu Dhabi in his 2013 debut. He followed that up last week getting bounced from the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

McIlroy isn’t surprised there’s scrutiny over his equipment switch. CBS and Golf Channel analyst Nick Faldo called it dangerous. NBC’s Johnny Miller called it a gamble.

“It's fine, I knew coming in it was going to be a bit of a process, and I knew there were going to be comments if it didn't happen for me right way,” McIlroy said. “I'm only two tournaments into the season. I've still got more than 20 to go. So it's not like I'm in any rush. It’s not like I'm pushing for answers, or I'm looking for answers. Everything's there. It's just a matter of putting it all together.”

McIlroy said he is adjusting to new equipment, but his issues at Abu Dhabi and Match Play weren’t about the equipment.

“It's more about how I'm swinging the club,” McIlroy said. “That's the real concern, not concern for me, it's not a concern, but I would like to get back to where I was, say, the middle of last year. Because if you put my swing now up the way I was swinging it last year, it's chalk and cheese. So that's the real thing that I'm working on.”

McIlroy said he got himself into some bad habits.

For the swing analysts out there, here’s McIlroy’s breakdown of what’s out of sync in his swing: “Yeah, basically, the club is going a little too far on the outside on the way back, and, coming into the ball, it's a little bit too far on the inside, so it's getting underneath the plane. So, the club's pointing right in the delivery position, and it's either starting there, and staying there, which is what happened last week. Or, I'll try and save it with my hands, and I'll turn it over too much.  That's the big thing.  It's just about trying to get it more on line on the way back and lift it. Basically the club gets trapped behind me and I get stuck, and from there, it's difficult.  Your timing needs to be perfect to be able to save it, and when it's not, you're just slightly off.”