The opening round of this year’s Masters at Augusta National was easily one of the more forgettable days of Rory McIlroy‘s golfing career, with the Northern Irishman shooting a +4 round, and it was perhaps a display which signified his best days are behind him.
Having dominated the golfing scene in the years shortly after 2012, McIlroy threatened to become the next transcendent star after Tiger Woods, earning a lucrative partnership with EA Sports and achieving wonderful success on the course.
Winning the US Open, PGA Championship and The Open Championship was set to be the beginning of McIlroy‘s period of success, although he hasn’t won a major since 2014.
Thursday saw his technique let him down, with one wayward shot even going as far as hitting his father, who was watching from the edge of the course.
It was perhaps McIlroy‘s worst day at Augusta since his 2011 collapse on the final day of the tournament, where he shot the worst round in history by any professional golfer that had held the lead going into the final round.
Golf is such a difficult sport on the body, with the physical toll it places on your back, shoulders and arms inevitably showing.
Thursday showed that years at the top has perhaps had a similarly damaging impact on the Northern Irishman, and it’s clear that his best days are behind him.
The same was said about Tiger Woods, who returned in 2019 to claim another Masters title, although McIlroy will have to work significantly to get back to a level where he is challenging.
A change of swing technique over the winter had caused concern amongst the golfing community and McIlroy certainly looked to have made an error on Thursday.
His intent to boost his own power and long-game in response to Dustin Johnson’s incredible performance in last year’s Masters appears to have fallen flat.
He is currently tied 59th in the standings with his second round set to begin at around 19:30 CET, and the Brit has it all to do in order to show that he isn’t on the decline, despite all the evidence suggesting so.