2011 British Open logo2011 British Open

Grading Each Piece of Rory McIlroy's Game at Royal St. George

John BurkeContributor IJuly 19, 2011

Grading Each Piece of Rory McIlroy's Game at Royal St. George

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    Like many others, I predicted Rory McIlroy to win his first British Open at Royal St. George's. 

    Unfortunately, it was clear from the beginning that the game McIlroy possessed at the U.S. Open was not the same one he brought with him to England. 

    His game was good, and his opening rounds of 71 and 69 allowed him to stay near the leaders. Unfortunately, his game worsened as the tournament continued. As a result, he never was a contender on the weekend.

    McIlroy's game was not all bad though. Parts of his game was good, parts decent, and other parts were far from perfect. 

    Without further ado, here is a breakdown of McIlroy's game as we saw it at the British Open.

Driving

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    Rory McIlroy has the ability to be either deadly accurate with his driver or so inaccurate it is deadly to his score. 

    At the 2011 British, it was somewhere between the two but closer to deadly inaccurate. 

    For the week, McIlroy hit just 28 fairways out of 56. Hitting 50 percent of fairways is simply not enough to win a major. 

    Granted this is the British Open so fairways are a little harder to come by, but regardless. To win you need to give yourself a chance to get close to the pin with approaches. This simply cannot be done from the rough or bunkers. 

    Final Grade: C-

Irons

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    At the U.S. Open, Rory McIlroy separated himself from the field with his supreme ball striking. This was noticeably absent at Royal St. George's. 

    For the week, McIlroy only hit 43 greens in regulation. In the third round, he was exceptionally dismal, hitting only eight greens for the day. 

    You can't win a major if you aren't giving yourself looks at birdie. McIlroy not only starved himself of birdie looks, but also many legitimate par chances. 

    Final Grade: C+

Scrambling

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    This is the one area where Rory McIlroy actually performed very well. He forced himself to do so, however, with the rest of his play. 

    When you aren't hitting fairways or greens, you better be a wizard with your wedge.

    Luckily, McIlroy's wedges were exceptionally good during the tournament. He went four for five in sand saves, and over the course of the week, McIlroy hit some masterful wedges.

    If this wedge play continues, McIlroy will have no problem winning majors again very quickly.

    Final Grade: A

Putting

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    Back at the U.S. Open at Congressional, McIlroy's play on the greens was some of the best I have ever witnessed. 

    At the British Open, McIlroy looked like he left his putting stroke back in the U.S.A. 

    For the week, McIlroy averaged 30 putts per round. That is simply not good enough to win any tournament, let alone a major. 

    There were times watching McIlroy play where you felt if he could make a putt, he would gain enough momentum to make a charge. Unfortunately, he never made the putts he needed to build some steam. 

    Final Grade: D

Mental

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    Rory McIlroy's mental game is probably the biggest question remaining with him.

    He has the physical talent to dominate on tour. I just have not been convinced he has the mental strength to become a great player.

    At the 2011 Masters, McIlroy crumbled under pressure. I chalked it up to his youthfulness and inexperience. 

    At the 2011 U.S. Open, he seemed to be mentally strong. But with no one in pursuit, there wasn't much to worry about. 

    Then at the British Open, he let the weather get to him. In his press conference after the final round, McIlroy said, ""Yeah, I'm not a fan of golf tournaments that the outcome is predicted so much by the weather."

    If that is true, McIlroy should skip the British Open every year because the weather is never perfect.

    Final Grade: D

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