British Open 2012: Why Rory McIlroy's Road to Second Major Won't Get Easier

Steve Maze@N/ACorrespondent IIJuly 24, 2012

LYTHAM ST ANNES, ENGLAND - JULY 20:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits an approach shot on the fifteenth hole during the second round of the 141st Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club on July 20, 2012 in Lytham St Annes, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Despite winning the 2011 U.S. Open by finishing an astounding 16 strokes under par, Rory McIlroy has had immense difficulty even competing in majors since then, let alone winning his second.

The memory of McIlroy hooking his tee shot on the 10th hole in the final round of the 2011 Masters was quickly replaced by him hoisting up the U.S. Open trophy weeks later. The prevalent thought then arose that his Masters meltdown must have been an anomaly.

It appears now that the public was too quick to forget that Masters meltdown. As evidenced by the past five majors since his U.S. Open victory, something is clearly wrong with McIlroy.

His best finish of the past five majors was the 2011 Open Championship, where he finished tied for 25th. Injuring his wrist at the 2011 PGA Championship and then missing the cut in his title defense at the 2012 U.S. Open shows McIlroy reeling and unable to reverse course.

The final major of 2012 will be the PGA Championship, played on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. The pressure is building on McIlroy, not so much anymore to win, but just to compete.

While it'd be nice to go out and shoot four rounds under par to win another major, it isn't that simple—particularly for someone in a slump.

What McIlroy needs is to be in the thick of a major on Sunday to prove to himself once again he belongs there. 

Getting the ball in the fairway is key for his return to glory. Last weekend at the Open Championship, McIlroy finished with a 51.8-percent driving accuracy, meaning he hit every other fairway. McIlroy needs to find some way back to the short grass. If he continues to spray the ball off the tee, his major championship woes will only worsen.

Unfortunately, as many know, the recovery only grows harder the further you slip. Hopefully for McIlroy and golf fans everywhere, he figures his problems out and returns to competing in majors.