McGinley’s tough but fair assessment of Rory McIlroy’s Sunday struggles

While Rory McIlroy dismisses suggestions he has been bottling it on Sundays, Paul McGinley believes the Northern Irishman has indeed lost his confidence when it matters most.

McIlroy’s failure to emerge victorious from Sunday’s final pairing at the Arnold Palmer Invitational continued a disturbing trend for the four-time major winner, who has now been unable to win a tournament after starting in the final group eight successive times.

While McIlroy chooses to focus on the positives, namely the fact that he has started 2019 with five consecutive top-six starts on the PGA Tour, others reckon he has developed a noticeable problem when it comes to delivering at the business end of tournaments – and you can count McGinley among them.

“It is great to see him play as consistently as he has because that is something that has been missing in his career,” said the Irishman.

“One of the things that has been great to watch with Rory over the years is that when he gets hot, he gets really hot and generally wins.

“That hasn’t been a trend in the last couple of years. You know how talented he is but golf is about winning and there is no doubt that he has got an issue on a Sunday and it is growing. There are a lot of questions being asked.

“We have got a saying in Ireland that when the dogs are barking, keep walking because he has got a lot of people barking in his ear.

“People are questioning why he is not getting it done on Sunday. Is it a question of guile? No, he has won big tournaments in the past. But he has lost his confidence when it comes down to the last day and that is why he is not winning.

“There is a hesitation on Sunday. He is not free-wheeling on Sunday the way he does when he is at his best. You can see he is holding off a lot of shots – that is indicative of doubt.”

McGinley’s advice for McIlroy on Sundays? Get tough and a little bit angry. Approach the final round with a bit of an attitude.

“Rory is an inspirational player and when he gets inspired he is great,” the Sky Sports pundit added. “But he has not got that inspiration on a Sunday.

“I believe Rory plays his best when he has got a little bit of a chip on his shoulder and that is what I would like to see Rory coming back with. When he gets into the Sunday: Get out of my way, here I come.

“I think Rory is better when he has got an edge about him and has something to prove. Generally, when he has that attitude, that is when he bursts through.”