Paul McGinley foresees more of golf’s young elite like Rory McIlroy suffering injuries because of the stress they are putting on their bodies.
Former World No1 McIlroy, who recently admitted to experiencing an irregular heartbeat, is now outside the top 10 largely due to a fractured rib which ruled him out for a significant spell last season.
McGinley points out the Holywood star won’t be the only one to suffer ailments because of their exertions on the course and in the gym but stresses McIlroy has to consider what impact continuing with this current regime will have on his health going into his thirties.
“I know there is a lot of analysis from within his team over the last three months. He has learnt a lot. He is a smart guy, we know that, He is intelligent, he is bright. There is a lot to be learnt. But you cannot play golf if you have not got a fit body – that is the number one criteria.
“With the power and speed that these guys are swinging, and the amount of time they spend in the gym, what is going to happen when they get into their 30s like Rory is now, bodies are going to start breaking down a lot earlier than the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson.
"And because they are pounding their bodies so hard in the gym from a very early age, in order to play this power game, are there going to be effects going forward? I think so.
“I think that applies not just to Rory, it is to everyone else. Maintaining his body as he enters his 30s and staying fit and staying strong (is the challenge).
"He’s drifted out to 11 in the world, which in terms of his talent is way off where he should be. It will be great to see him go for it, he is normally at his best when he is going for something, rather than chasing something.
"That is when he is at his most exhilarating. The odds are stacked against him now so we are looking forward to seeing him.”
McGinley regards McIlroy’s heavier-than-usual schedule ahead of the Masters, the one Major he has yet to capture, as a run “that a young rookie would undertake”.
And he’s not certain Augusta is set up for him. “I don’t buy into this idea that Rory’s game is perfect for Augusta. Ernie Els and Greg Norman, people said the same thing about them, that their games were perfectly suited to winning around there and they never did.
"I don’t like to pigeon-hole him and say that this is the Major he should win.”
Ahead of the Ryder Cup in Paris in September, 2014 winning captain McGinley expects current European skipper Thomas Bjorn will call up Graeme McDowell if he shows form during the summer. McDowell is a two-time winner on the Le Golf National course.
“He has a record around there. The golf course suits him. It is not a big-hitters course – you have to have a lot of guile to play around that place, there is a lot of testing shots over water, especially in the last three or four holes.
“You have to have great iron play and great putting. All of those tick the Graeme McDowell box. I would say that if Graeme shows any sort of form in the last two or three months (before selection is finalised), he would be odds-on for a pick.”
However, McGinley anticipates Shane Lowry and Paul Dunne will have to be chosen on merit given that they have yet to play in the tournament.
This year, Bjorn will chose four wild cards while another four will come from the USPGA money list and the other third according to the European Order of Merit.
“If they don’t make one of those eight positions, it is going to be odds-against if you are a rookie. Doesn’t matter who you are.
"It is going to be difficult, but both have made a really good start. That performance by Shane in Dubai was huge, of all the weeks to play well, that was the one when the money was so big and the points so readily available.
"Paul took advantage of his by winning the British Masters at the start.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved