Rory McIlroy leads the return of Europe’s elite golfers to the flagship BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth next week mired in management speculation.
Eighteen months after parting company with his first adviser, Chubby Chandler, McIlroy is reportedly leaving his second, Horizon Sports, to go it alone with his old man Gerry.
This after the huge upheaval that followed the move to Nike in January, which meant a change of equipment and coincided with a dramatic downturn in form. McIlroy insisted the two were not linked, that the clubs were not at fault but his swing. It didn’t matter. McIlroy cannot blow his nose without starting an internet frenzy about the state of his health.
And so he arrives at Wentworth with the focus on everything but the golf, quite an irony since the essence of good management is to ensure that the narrative is always sport, thus enabling the client to concentrate on the playing. McIlroy would argue that he is not making this move a property for public discussion. Indeed, he denied that it was happening when questioned at the Players Championship in Florida last week, despite other well-placed sources insisting it was true.
McIlroy displays his emotions openly. Inevitably, given his profile it is not too difficult to make two plus two equal five. Thus his slump this time last year when he missed four cuts in six events, including Wentworth, was attributed to his jet-set life. He was spending too much time cultivating his relationship with tennis superstar Caroline Wozniacki instead of concentrating on the golf, the critics said.
It is also the case that the enrolment of dad could go either way. There are countless examples of the negative impact of parental involvement. McIlroy is a precious commodity, yet vulnerable with it. His form is returning. Successive top 10 finishes in his last two events are proof of that. After Wentworth he returns to America to prepare a fortnight later for the season’s second major, the US Open. What he needs now is a period of calm, not more turbulence. Over to you, dad.
Time for a change? McIlroy’s misery
Misses his second straight cut after a 79 at the PGA Championship.
18 January 2013
Misses cut in Abu Dhabi.
Complains about his iron play after his first-round defeat at the World Matchplay Championship.
2 March 2013
Walks off after completing just eight holes of his second round at the Honda Classic in Florida.