Paul McGinley believes Rory McIlroy will need to improve his patience levels if the world No1 is to secure a first Masters title this spring and go on to dominate the golfing majors for years to come.
A victory for McIlroy at Augusta on Sunday would clinch a career grand slam for the Northern Irishman, on the back of a remarkable 2014 that provided wins at the Open Championship and the US PGA, as well as European team success in the Ryder Cup.
His win at Hoylake was arguably the most impressive of them all, holding off challenges from Sergio García and Ricky Fowler to win by two shots, a victory that McGinley – who captained McIlroy at Gleneagles in September – says was a clear demonstration of the progress he had made.
However, while McGinley acknowledges the 25-year-old is a far more patient player than he was two years ago, he believes Augusta will require McIlroy to utilise those mental attributes in the coming days.
“To play an examination paper like Hoylake, it’s all about patience,” said McGinley. “And he exemplified that there. That’s one of the things that Rory knows he has to improve, is that level of patience, if he wants to evolve to the heights that Tiger [Woods] set, that’s something he has to improve on.
“To a large extent, and as Jack Nicklaus always said, winning a major championship there is a high dependency on being patient. Rory is going to improve that, and he’s certainly more patient than he was two years ago, but he has still has a way to go.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a lack of patience, it’s an evolution. In all due respect this is an evolution, and the one thing that Rory has proved is that he’s able to learn from his mistakes and move on. So he’s evolving and he’s improving, he’s getting there, he knows he’s not the finished article and he knows there’s certain conditions he still needs to prove himself in, in order to be considered one of the real greats of the game.”
McIlroy has taken himself out of the spotlight in recent weeks, having last played at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he finished tied 11th at Bay Hill. McGinley added: “Rory is a streaky player, which is a great way to be, and when he gets hot with the putter he gets hot and he holes his percentages.
“To use his own words, he’s got to become a little more patient on the greens, because he hits so many greens he gives himself so many opportunities. Patience is a big thing for him, and that pertains to putting more than anything else around Augusta.”
Paul McGinley will be at The Masters in Augusta commentating for Sky Sports, the only place to watch all four days live.
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