McIlroy's costly putting lesson delayed by pride

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in action at the WGC-HSBC Champions Golf Tournament in Shanghai, on Oct 30, 2016.
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in action at the WGC-HSBC Champions Golf Tournament in Shanghai, on Oct 30, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

DUBAI • Rory McIlroy seems to abide by the adage of the best lesson in life being that it is never too late to learn.

As he reflected on a season that will end on Sunday, he admitted being "too proud" and "too stubborn" has been costly.

McIlroy has won three titles this year and is the favourite to prevail at the European Tour Championship, which he won last year.

Still, by his own standards, the failure to win a Major has been a lingering disappointment.

Troubles on the greens played the key role, with McIlroy eventually turning to putting coach Phil Kenyon for help.

"I have learnt sometimes to not be too proud," the 27-year-old said. "I was too stubborn, I wanted to figure it out on my own because I always feel if you do that, you take ownership of it and it's yours. Sometimes you need a second opinion. I got that in August and it really turned the season round for me.

"I've won a couple of things I hadn't won before. I won the Irish Open and to win the FedExCup as well was big. I'd like to think that my performances in next year's Majors are going to be better."

McIlroy will not be undercooked in the first of the Majors - the Masters in April.

He revealed an early 2017 schedule that will include appearances in South Africa, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Los Angeles, Florida, Mexico City, as well as at Bay Hill and possibly in Texas before Augusta National.

One place he is unlikely to appear is Turkey. His absence from the Turkish Airlines Open this month because of security fears prompted criticism from the president of the country's golf federation.

McIlroy was asked whether his Turkey decision, combined with his non-participation at the Olympic Games in Rio in August, may have affected his reputation.

"I think I do enough good things on and off course charity-wise and with the way I carry myself that pulling out of two events is not going to change that," he said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 17, 2016, with the headline 'McIlroy's costly putting lesson delayed by pride'. Print Edition | Subscribe