Rory McIlroy opens himself up to scrutiny after admitting dismay at growing pressures of sport after Jonathan Trott's Ashes exit

The Northern Irish golfer admits Trott's departure represents the growing ever-increasing toll that sport can have on the mental state of those who compete

Those of the Piers Morgan persuasion, who see elite sport as the ultimate expression of the life of Riley, will have little sympathy with the commentary of Rory McIlroy, who presented himself for scrutiny in the first round of the Australian Open in Sydney overnight, and is dismayed by the events surrounding England cricketer Jonathan Trott.

Morgan tweeted his empathy with the England batsmen quoting the legendary Australian all-rounder of yore, Keith Miller: “Pressure is a Messerschmitt up your arse. Playing cricket is not.” In other words Trotty, get a grip, man up, grow a pair, or whatever the expression is in Morgan’s macho wonderland.

This is not a view shared by McIlroy, who has spent the past 11 months in a similar personal space to Trott, desperately trying to balance expectation and disappointment. Where Trott has gone, more might follow warns McIlroy. “The pressure to succeed in sport is pushing more and more athletes towards stress-related illnesses,” he said.

“As sport becomes so big and there’s so much pressure and so much on the line, it’s becoming more and more common that these sorts of illnesses are happening and it just shows how much of a mental toll it takes on you sometimes. It’s sad to see something like that happen. Hopefully he gets home and spends some time with his family and recovers and can come back.”

McIlroy is hoping to sign off a year of frustration and rancour with victory in Australia or at next week’s Tiger Woods World Challenge in California. At least then the conversation might not be about his form following the lucrative switch to Nike clubs, his legal confrontation with former management company Horizon, the status of his relationship with Caroline Wozniacki or the health of his wisdom tooth.

“It’s been a long year, I guess mentally more than physically,” he said. “Physically, golf doesn’t take that much out of you but mentally it’s quite draining, especially this year for me, not just the golf and being frustrated with my game but having to answer the questions and having to come up with reasons why I’m not playing well and all that stuff.

“I’ve said for the last couple of months I just wanted to try and finish this season strongly and get some momentum to go in 2014. This would be the perfect place to get that first win of the year and give me a sort of springboard into the next season.” 

To prevail this week McIlroy must get past local favourites Adam Scott and Jason Day, Both have been on the Australian clock for a couple of weeks as they take advantage of the gaps in the calendar to contest tournaments on home soil.

Scott won the Australian Masters a fortnight ago in Melbourne and cleaned up on the same course last week partnering Jason Day to the team title in the World Cup of Golf. Day won the individual event. “I know I’m going to have to play my best golf to beat them,” McIlroy said.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Voices
Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron appeal to the audience during the Question Time special
voices
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living