Faldo believes McIlroy has at least another decade of Masters chances

Wednesday, Apr 10, 2024

LONDON: Sir Nick Faldo believes Rory McIlroy has at least another decade of opportunities to win the Masters, despite the scar tissue from his previous attempts.

McIlroy famously squandered a four-shot lead in the final round in 2011 and has recorded six top 10s at Augusta National since victory in the 2014 Open left him needing a green jacket to complete a career grand slam.

The world number two finished second behind Scottie Scheffler in 2022 thanks to a thrilling final round of 64 and is second favourite behind the same player this week after finishing third in the Texas Open on Sunday.

Asked if McIlroy, who will turn 35 next month, was running out of chances to win the Masters, Faldo said: “I disagree. “The game has changed. We have brought the physical element in and we understand the physical side.

“It was always 30-35 when you were in your prime and he is still in his prime. They are so fit and trained now so he has got at least another 10 years I would say of being supersonically fit.

“I still think the problem is times gone by. We are nearly 10 years now since his last major. That is the problem. “Unfortunately it’s just going on, time after time. It’s not just this season. There’s four or five or six years of scar tissue now, of Rory coming in as favourite, playing great.

“He has tried his best at times. ‘Can I re-set, can I literally forget the past, who I am? Look how talented I am and go and play golf again’. It is not that easy. Can you turn back the clock? Can you delete all the negativity that you have seen and felt?

“I think there is a way where he could find his stride because, as we know, when he finds that stride and gets that trust, then he is phenomenal. I bet that is all he wants to do – just set me free.”

To achieve that goal Faldo believes McIlroy has done the right thing by stepping down from his role on the PGA Tour’s policy board after almost two years of being the most prominent figure in the Tour’s fight with LIV Golf.

But the six-time major winner remains incredulous that McIlroy agreed to conduct a live “walk and talk” interview during the first round of last year’s Masters, an event in which he went on to miss the cut.

“I didn’t like it,” Faldo added. “I thought, ‘You’re kidding me! The Masters?’. Sure, do that any other week but why the Masters? “I mean, that is one of the most beautiful things about the Masters. It’s you and your caddie, just the two of you and the other players. That’s all that’s inside the ropes.

“And to suddenly bring other people in? Because that’s got to be organised, hasn’t it? And this sort of thing, your manager is going to say to you before, ‘Will you do this?’. Gosh, no, you need 100 per cent concentration.

“I think he’s trying to put priorities into golf. You’ve got to look out. You have a window as an athlete, don’t you? You’ve got tons of time once you’ve stopped playing your sport to go and do all your other stuff.

“But while you’re an athlete, give it 100 per cent. That was kind of my attitude. You know, once you get your mind into other things, business and all sorts, then it’s hurting your golf. It really does.”

:: The Masters will be available on Sky Sports Golf and via a NOW subscription from 11th – 14th April, and you can follow all the latest news on Sky Sports social and digital channels throughout the week.