Ex Ryder Cup captain reveals Rory McIlroy’s biggest flaw ahead of The Masters

Paul McGinley believes Rory McIlroy needs to take a good look at his iron play in order to complete the career grand slam at The Masters at Augusta National next week. 

Speaking exclusively to GolfMagic, the ex-Ryder Cup captain candidly discussed McIlroy’s lack of form heading into the first major of the season but he does believe that if anyone can find inspiration quickly then it’s the Northern Irishman.

Since the start of the season, McIlroy has failed to register a single top-10 finish on the PGA Tour.

McIlroy’s best finish on the American circuit came at the Players Championship, where he tied for 19th.

Despite his poor form, he has managed to register one win this calendar year, which came in January at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic.

The World No.2 currently ranks first for strokes gained driving on the PGA Tour.

However, his iron play has consistently let him down this season.

Rory McIlroy

In 2023, McIlroy ranked eighth for strokes gained approaching the green, however, he has seen himself slide to 119th in the category this season.

While you don’t have to be a Sky Sports analyst to spot the glaring drop-off, McGinley does believe it is a cause for concern heading to Augusta where second-shot accuracy is paramount.

McGinley told GolfMagic:

“Rory’s iron play, in particular, has been off, and that’s normally been a strength of his game. His driving seems to be very good, and he seems to be very happy with how he’s driving the ball, and his putting is decent, but his iron play is a problem, and he’s got a couple of hooks in there, and any time there’s trouble left he seems to find it. So I would say there is something he needs to get on top of technique-wise.”

Despite concerns over his technique, McGinley praised McIlroy’s ability to dig deep and find inspiration when it’s needed.

McGinley believes McIlroy's iron game is not up to scratch

He went on to add:

“As I’ve said so many times with McIlroy, he’s an inspirational player and inspiration can come from anything. It could be all fired up like he was at the Ryder Cup and went on to play great, or it could be something like some fresh ideas from a different coach that just kind of click, and all of a sudden, you know he gets inspired quicker and faster than anybody else. So, you know it could be something to kickstart the engine, and it doesn’t take much with McIlroy, but when it does, he seems to win straight away.”

If inspiration is what McIlroy needs then he’s started in the right place, as he recently revealed he visited Butch Harmon in order to iron out a few things with his swing.

Harmon is arguably the most famous coach in golf and helped Tiger Woods win eight major championships and 34 PGA Tour titles.

Rory McIlroy

Speaking to The Telegraph, McIlroy revealed that while he has an amazing feeling with his woods at the moment, it’s an entirely different story with his irons.

He told the Telegraph:

“I have this amazing feeling with my woods at the minute, but when I try to recreate that feeling with the irons, it starts left and goes further left. I think it’s because you turn harder with a wood, you’re sort of clearing [your body] harder.

“I love this feeling of firing my right arm down the target line, and I can do that with my woods really well. But then when I try to do that with my irons, the club face closes over and goes left. It’s almost like two different swings. I have a swing thought for my woods and I need a different swing thought for my irons, and that’s what I’ve been working on.”

If Harmon is able to work his magic with McIlroy, then he could be a force to be reckoned with at Augusta National, and McGinley believes his ability to bounce back could be pivotal in his attempt to claim the career grand slam.

He added:

“You know the other thing about him is he’s resilient. You know you look at his performances and the many times he’s come back from devastating performances to play well  the following week, and many times he wins the following week.

He does have that ability to bounce back, and as I say, he could bounce back quick. He’s not one of those players who needs a period of time to play into form. He’s one of those guys who can bounce very quickly and switch it up again.


Will McIlroy finally slip on the green jacket? Share your thoughts and comments over on the GolfMagic social media channels.

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