CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlory might have strong words for Butch Harmon when they bump into each other over the next three days at the 147th British Open. Tiger Woods’ ex-coach criticized the former World No. 1 for being too robotic.
“I would like to see him start playing golf and stop playing golf-swing,” Harmon said on Sky Sports in his role as analyst. “He looks like a robot out there when I see him practice putting.”
Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.
He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.
This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.
McIlroy tried to play the way he did as a kid in the Open’s opening round. The 28-year-old, whose last major win came in the 2014 British, hit driver every chance he got while his peers were hitting irons off the tee to keep the ball in play on Carnoustie’s burnt out fairways.
McIlroy only hit four of 15 fairways but he managed to avoid penal bunkers to return a 2-under-par 69.
McIlroy, who was lying tied eighth when he finished, fired back at Harmon.
“I like Butch,” McIlroy said. “I would say I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that’s mechanical.
“It’s easy to make comments when you don’t know what’s happening. I haven’t spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn’t know what I’m working on in my swing. He doesn’t know what’s in my head. So it’s easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what’s happening, I just really don’t take any notice of it.”