Rory McIlroy bounced back from a nightmare start at the Open after he was given a major talking to by his caddie J.P. Fitzgerald.
The four-time major winner was four-over-par standing on the sixth tee when his long-time caddie intervened, with McIlroy describing his start as ‘nervous, anxious and timid’.
“I didn’t have as much belief in myself as I should have and J.P. gave me a good talking to on the sixth tee box,” said McIlroy. “He reminded me who I was, basically.
"He said, ‘You’re Rory McIlroy – what are you doing? Or what the f*** are you doing?’. At that point, I sort of mumbled but it helped – it definitely helped. You’ve got to be positive and he did a great job.”
J.P.’s words didn’t have an immediate impact. McIlroy bogeyed the sixth hole – his fourth in a row – to go to five-over-par but didn’t drop a shot from then on in, recording four birdies on the back nine to finish at one-over-par.
“I’m really happy with what I ended up with this afternoon,” continued McIlroy. “If I can stay at around level par with the weather we’re expecting, I feel like I’m going to be right in this golf tournament heading into the weekend.
“I’m going to go to bed tonight thinking of those last 12 holes and hopefully I can emulate that tomorrow.”