Date: December 03, 2013
Author: Luke Sheehan, Omnisport

Patience the key lesson for McIlroy

Fresh from his first tournament victory in over a year, Rory McIlroy said he is feeling more confident of rising back to his best.

The former world number one and two-time major winner suffered a lull in form earlier in 2013, as he made the transition from Titleist clubs to Nike with plenty of teething issues.

However, the Northern Irishman broke through for his first professional win with his new clubs on Sunday, as he won the Australian Open at Royal Sydney in fine style – birdying the 18th to deny Adam Scott the 'triple crown' of titles on the Australian swing.

After his victory, McIlroy – who is preparing to play in the 18-man Northwestern Mutual World Challenge in California, starting Thursday – said his tough 2013 season has taught him to be calm in a crisis.

"Just to stay patient is probably the biggest lesson I've learnt," McIlroy told Sky Sports.

"Golf is always going to have its ups and downs and it's been a learning curve this year for sure.

"I feel like I probably should have played more at the start of the season just to play my way into the season a little bit more and get used to all this sort of stuff – it was a pretty busy start to the year for me.

"But just really patience has been a big thing because there's probably times when I've got a bit down on myself and a bit frustrated but when I sit down and think about it there was always going to be periods like this when you're not going to play so well.

"So you just have to ride it out and if you work on the right things in practice then things will turn around for you."

McIlroy said Nike had taken some of his advice into consideration when moulding his clubs, after he made the lucrative, multi-million dollar switch at the start of the season.

"I'm really lucky that I've been working really closely with the guys at Nike and they really take notice to the feedback I give them," he said.

"They obviously know a lot more about club design and things like that than I do but they come back with prototypes and new things that have my thoughts in them so that's nice to see."

The world number six said he felt like he was nearing the form that saw him win the US Open and PGA Championship in 2011 and 2012 respectively, in domineering fashion.

"It's very close, it's really close," he said of his form.

"It's the best it's felt all year for sure and it's only getting better – after the Dubai tournament (the DP World Tour Championship in November) I spent a few more days there and practised with my coach there and I feel like my game's in real good shape.

"So I'm excited for the end of this season and excited for 2014."