Tom Watson urges Rory McIlroy to eradicate ‘cancer’ in bid for more major titles
Tom Watson has urged Rory McIlroy to cut out the “cancer” which is hampering his efforts to add to his four major titles.
The 32-year-old Northern Irishman suffered a frustrating US PGA Championship campaign last month, failing to break par in any of his four rounds at Kiawah Island as his wait for a fifth success extended to 24 major championships since his own PGA success at Valhalla in 2014.
Asked what he needed to do return to contention, eight-time major winner Watson told the PA news agency: “I just think he needs to find that winning golf swing, or that belief in his golf swing, that he needs to win.
“Sometimes you have a slight doubt and that doubt grows as a cancer, and you’ve got to eliminate that cancer, that thought that ‘I just don’t have it this week’.”
Watson knows from his own experience that sometimes it takes an ability to scramble for a player to play himself back into form and that requires a solid short game.
He said: “You need to be able to rely on your short game. I could rely on my short game, the up and down. When I wasn’t playing well… I won a number of tournaments in my career when I wasn’t playing particularly well.
“I won an Open Championship there at Birkdale in ’83. I wasn’t playing particularly well, but I had a strategy to play the golf course and I made the putt at 16 in the final round and it put me in position to win.
“I missed the landmines. I played number six and Birkdale properly, I missed the landmines and kept myself just the leader of the pack.
“That’s what Rory has to do. He has to go in there and find something that’s going to give him the confidence that ‘Yeah, I’ve got it now’, a light switch goes on in the golf swing.”
Graeme Storm recalls ‘surreal’ US PGA adventure after battle with Rory McIlroy
His famous victory over McIlroy came on the third extra hole in the 2017 South African Open in Johannesburg
Lee Kyoung-Hoon shoots his lowest round on the tour to retain Texas title
Dallas-born Jordan Spieth went close with a chip for eagle on the 18th which would have forced a play-off.
Sam Horsfield ‘so happy’ after winning Soudal Open to secure another title
Horsfield overcame overnight leader Ryan Fox in a thrilling final-round battle.
Justin Rose still has drive to succeed as ‘exciting challenge’ of US PGA arrives
Rose won the US Open in 2013 and Olympic gold in Rio three years later, but has not tasted victory since February 2019.
Tiger Woods will expect to do better at US PGA Championship – Curtis Strange
Woods returned to top-level action after a long injury absence with a 47th-placed finished at the Masters.
Defending champion Phil Mickelson withdraws from US PGA Championship
The six-time major winner has been taking a break from golf.
Jordan Spieth looking for career grand slam at US PGA Championship
The presence or absence of defending champion Phil Mickelson which will dominate the conversation at Southern Hills.
We’ve got your back – Greg Norman promises to defend players on breakaway tour
Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood are among the professionals to have asked for the required release to play the first event at Centurion Club.