Rory McIlroy turns to Jack Nicklaus for advice on winning US Open
Rory McIlroy says he "relishes" the chance to win a US Open and thinks he has a good chance this week at Pinehurst.
Rory McIlroy has had an up-and-down last 18 months, to say the least.
He hasn't won on the PGA Tour since the end of 2012 and the amount of rumor-fueled speculation he's endured in the papers and on social media would make a Kardashian jealous.
Here's a look at what the pressure did to him at last year's US Open at Merion:
For McIlroy it's all about getting back to golf.
Through it all -- the club changes, the girl changes, the growing up changes -- it is golf that has anchored him even if he hasn't known it.
"It's nice when you get out on the golf course because you've got that five hours of you're just out there with your clubs, with your caddie, trying to shoot the best score possible," said McIlroy on Tuesday.
"That's the approach that I'm sort of adopting from now until whenever."
"Whenever" might be 20 years from now when he's dusting off major trophy No. 10 with the way he's playing right now.
McIlroy has top 10s in nine of his 11 PGA Tour and European Tour stroke-play events this year. But only one win. He's undeterred though, he knows he's at the top of his game.
"I've got three majors left this season and I do feel like my game is good enough to be able to contend in all of them. Yeah, with the way I've been playing and how I feel my game is, I'm one of the favorites coming in here."
He also knows this year's US Open will be way different than the one he won at Congressional in 2011 by one million shots.
"It was wet. It was low scoring. I haven't won a tournament whenever it's been like this. That's why I'm relishing the challenge."
This is different though, this year will be a test of his spirit, his mind. He recently turned to none other than Jack Nicklaus for advice on his game and his brand.
They also talked about McIlroy's scoring average in the first round of tournaments (1st by over a stroke) vs. the second round (192nd, not even the first "Rory" on the list).
"I spent two hours with Jack Nicklaus last week in his office in Palm Beach and had a great sort of conversation about everything, business, golf, brand, the whole lot. And I got a lot from that.
"He said to me he was never afraid to change things up in the middle of a round if it wasn't going well, he felt like he wasn't swinging well. He'd make a swing change right then and there. The mental strength to be able to do that and trust what you're doing.
"But I had a great conversation with Jack and I feel very honored that I'm able to call him up for advice, if I need to. He was a great U.S. Open player and hopefully some of those little nuggets of wisdom that he passed on to me might help this week."
Not a bad person to turn to as Nicklaus is one of only two golfers to win the career grand slam three times (nobody else other than Tiger Woods has done it twice).
And speaking of the career slam, something Phil Mickelson will be going for this week and something McIlroy will have to wait a few more years (at least) to try and accomplish, McIlroy knows golf needs him, wants, is begging him to be great.
"I feel like it's getting to the point where I should be at least contending again."
We all do, youngster, we all do.
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