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Rory McIlroy admits he was distracted in 2013

By Kyle Porter | Golf Writer

Rory McIlory had a tough 2013, he talked about why on Tuesday in Dubai. (USATSI)
Rory McIlory had a tough 2013, he talked about why on Tuesday in Dubai. (USATSI)

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We've always gotten a candid Rory McIlroy and usually had an honest Rory McIlroy but now we get a Rory McIlroy laid bare, and it's not pretty, but it is refreshing.

McIlroy is in Dubai for the final tournament of the European Tour season and he spoke pretty openly for the first time about what affected him off the course in 2013.

"Obviously there have been a few different things to think about and different things occupy your head that really shouldn't. But, you know, it's just the way it is and the position that I am in. It's something that will be sorted out hopefully sooner rather than later," he said.

"So I have got people dealing with that. But it's something, as I said, that shouldn't be in my mind. It's something that I don't really think any athlete or anyone should ever go through.

"I have seen more lawyers offices and more lawyers this year than I care to see in my entire life. It's not something I ever want to go through again and I'm making sure that I won't ever go through it again."

That's what happens when you're on your third management team in as many years.

McIlroy claimed his off-the-course issues -- including the management team switch, rumors of multiple splits with Caroline Wozniacki, a club switch, and a general criticism of his game -- didn't affect him while he was on the course but more so in his preparation.

"There was no specific time when I hit a bad shot because I was thinking of this," said McIlroy. "But as a golfer, you want your mind as clear as possible and it's obviously hard for that to happen when you have other things going on that, firstly, you don't want to happen and secondly you don't think should be happening.

"It has been a distraction. But as I said, I have only seen a fraction of it and I haven't had to deal with it as much as some of the guys around me. It's something that obviously I have not wanted to have in my life."

McIlroy has had to round out his PR game this season as he dealt with the inverse of the issue he had last season.

"It's funny, it's like polar opposites," he said. "I guess I learnt last year how to deal with the hype and deal with people building you up. This year I have had to deal with criticism. So it has been two opposite ends of the spectrum.

"I try to learn from everything that I do. Every year is a learning year. Every year for me is still a new experience. Last year was getting to world No1 and being the dominant player in the world for a while. This year, it has been having to handle criticism and scrutiny."

I have to say, it would be close to impossible to tune everything out. I know these guys are pretty strong mentally but McIlroy's rise was meteoric, and his fall just as spectacular.

Lastly, McIlroy dished on what Tiger has taught him over the last few years.

"It's something that Tiger actually told me last year. He said you have , to remember what got you here in the first place and I think you guys [in the media] know, with Tiger it is 'no' 99% of the time, which is a good thing."

McIlroy would be better for listening to the Woods advice, as long as he doesn't lose his child-like openness with the fans and media. We appreciate that probably more than he thinks.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter or Google+ and like us on Facebook.

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