RORY McILROY received “a very long text message” from Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson following his final round collapse at the US Masters.
McIlroy, a lifelong fan of the Red Devils, led for the opening three days at Augusta before slumping to a tie for 15th following a Sunday afternoon meltdown.
McIlroy last night revealed the contents of the communication from the legendary boss: “He told me to trust my friends, to trust my family, to listen to them because they’re the ones who are going to be looking out for you more than anybody else. It was very similar to what he said to David Beckham in ‘98 when he was being hounded by the British media after getting sent off in the World Cup against Argentina.
“He told him to come back to Manchester to people who really know you and love you. That was basically it.”
McIlroy was speaking ahead of the Volvo World Championship which commences over the Finca Cortesin layout in southern Spain this afternoon.
He has been drawn in the same pool as two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen, whom he meets at 1.50pm (Irish time) and the Belgian Nicholas Colsaerts, recent winner of the Volvo China Open.
Should he survive into Saturday’s knockout stages, his likely quarter-final opponent is his close friend and Ryder Cup partner Graeme McDowell.
“That would be great,” he said of a potential pairing with G-Mac. “It’s funny, we’ve never been in contention together or played against each other. He’d be trying to beat me as hard as I’d be trying to beat him. It’s a great format for us this week after getting so close to so many of the Europeans at the Ryder Cup and now going hopefully going head to head against some of them. You’re here until at least Friday and even if you lose your first round match, you have a chance to progress.”
McIlroy has always loved the head-to-head to stuff. Two Irish Close and two West of Ireland Championships are testimony to this while he came good when it counted in the Ryder Cup last October.
“I was borderline cocky in those days and it works in matchplay. You’ve got to feel that you’re better than the guy you’re playing against and I did feel I was better than everyone else. That’s probably part of the reason I did so well.”
McIlroy has taken a bit of stick on Sky from the likes of Butch Harmon for missing out on last week’s Players Championship but insists he has no regrets, pointing out had he gone to Sawgrass, he would be playing in five of the six weeks leading up to the US Open at Congressional. And he had words of encouragement for his friend McDowell, following his Sawgrass collapse.
“That’s no way to prepare for a major championship,” he declared. “Four weeks out of five is plenty.”
“I sent G-Mac a text on Sunday telling him that ‘it happens to the best of us’.
“It’s tough to finish off tournaments, no matter who you are.”
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