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The telegraph

Interview with Rory McIlroy: 10 years after changing the game – and that collapse of the Masters

There is a saying in Georgia, “no moolah without the grueller” – translation: “no gain without pain” – but Rory McIlroy believes that not only did he benefit from his Augusta agonies in 2011, but that the game as a whole changed as a result of the fearless attitude of that curly-haired boy from Belfast. On the 10th anniversary of these unforgettable scenes – when the 21-year-old favorite suddenly collapsed from the Masters and shot a tear-stained 80 – is an intriguing theory in McIlroy’s name, which defies the widely accepted narrative that it always – a growing generation of boomers was created by the example of Tiger Woods. No doubt, says McIlroy, the 15-time winner has inspired this exciting youth movement, but when it comes to his enthusiastic style, he claims they are more Rory newbies than Tiger cubs. “If there’s one thing I started with in the game, I think it’s that a lot of guys are now playing a lot like me and as I always have,” he says. “If you think about Tiger during the 90s, it was a very conservative game plan, without many drivers. “But then, I went out and hit the driver a lot, very aggressive on the first shot. And I feel that it continued. College players are being taught that way and are going out and reaching that distance. It’s funny because I was doing it naturally, it’s just what I wanted to do, how I got my kicks. “But more and more players have started to do that. It was the whole thing of the era won by blows as well. This made everyone realize that being able to do what I can do right from the start is a huge advantage. That was not the case at the turn of the last decade. ”Rory’s reconstruction: Pete Cowen’s to-do list with McIlroy – but will it work? McIlroy and Mark Broadie are an unusual pair in the power revolution. While the former is an individual who left school at the age of 15 to follow his inexorable path towards the golf elite, the latter is a business school teacher and an obsessed recreational golfer. At the same time that McIlroy was trying to write that Masters fairytale that soon turned into a nightmare, before it became the great redemption epic of the United States Open, Broadie’s “strokes won” metric was being accepted by the PGA. Tour as a more accurate analytical tool than those often misleading, traditional measurements of “driver accuracy”, “green hits” and “strokes per round”. Looking at him through the prism of relativity – that is, “shots taken in the rest of the field” – Broadie shook the titan’s head through some ancient myths. Mainly “drive for show, putt for money”. “It just wasn’t the case,” said McIlroy. “I really believe in statistics … and strokes won are the best statistics that came into our game for the last, well – of all.” Overnight, McIlroy’s divine talent and carefree philosophy were given academic legitimacy. Of course, the new generation and their advisers would follow and with the relentless popularization of TrackMan – the digital technology with which players can review the main swing parameters, including ball speed, pitch angle, rotation rate – the young man professional was no longer a slave to experience. Everything he or she wanted to know was there on the monitor. Instant professionals. Just add branded water. “We have a lot more knowledge,” said McIlroy. “I’m not saying that in 2011 the players had no knowledge, but I think with the ‘shots won’ with TrackMan, and everything they are creating in terms of the backstage team and physiotherapists and coaches and mental and their own chefs and all kinds of things … well, they seem to be taking it more seriously than ever, although all the best golfers have always taken it seriously. All players have their own teams around them today and that is something that was not normal 10 years ago. ”McIlroy is a victim of his own success, was he engulfed by the new wave he helped generate? No professional worthy of his own self-confidence would ever recognize such a thing, and McIlroy prefers to look back over the decade in a more positive light. Starting that Sunday afternoon, April 10. “Sure, it hurt right away – you can’t be free on all fours at night, still be in contention on the bend, before picking up a triple bogey on the 10th and fighting an 80, without hurting,” he says. “And there were parts of him that were low and I certainly felt depressed when he broke up. But a real low was what happened the previous year at The Masters – I missed the cut. Compare that to contending and leading the Masters. “I was so close to doing something really great and when the fog clears you have to get it out of it. I’m good at taking the positives and moving on, but I’m also very good at the fact that you have to be a goldfish in golf. You need to have a very short memory. “