What Phil Mickelson and an ankle injury taught Rory McIlroy about winning

Sharon Wong

rory mcilroy
Source: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

After a rather unfulfilling year which saw him from from the No.1 to the No. 3 spot, Rory McIlroy plans on doing things a bit differently as he starts off a new PGA Tour season at the Frys.com Open. There are the usual strategies, work hard, go for the gold, never say die. But this time, he’ll also be taking a page out of Phil Mickelson’s book.

“It’s just trying to keep the strengths as strong as I can and chip away at the weaknesses. I sometimes felt last season I neglected those weaknesses too much to focus on the strength. For me, that is my ball-striking and hitting fairways and greens and giving myself plenty of opportunities for birdies. You can do that all day, and you’re going to play well and have good finishes, but I felt like my putting could definitely have been better this year.”

Perhaps some explanation is in order.┬áMickelson’s been facing his fears headlong ever since he read about it in a college psychology text and working on his weaker shots until they’re airtight.┬áRory may not have read the same psychology text, but his ankle injury and the resulting time off have given him much more perspective than he had prior to it. Like many young athletes, he was much more comfortable working on what he was good at rather than confronting his weaknesses and chipping away at them. His own human fallibility taught him that ego will never be his friend both on the course and off it.

We’re hoping for some dramatic improvements at Frys.com!