After a less than stellar opening to The Open, Rory McIlroy made a charge on day two at Royal Birkdale, carding a 68 and making it into the Top-10.
McIlroy has been having a lack-luster year, missing cut after cut, even leading up to a major championship. It seemed like this trend would continue into The Open Championship, with him bogeying five of the first six holes, playing catch up the rest of the round.
He ended up making a comeback, carding a 71 to finish the round, only six strokes behind Jordan Spieth who is currently leading the pack. When asked what changed mid-round, McIlroy attributed his success towards his right hand man, caddie JP Fitzgerald.
Daily Mirror quoted the 28-year-old saying:
“JP gave me a good talking to on the sixth tee box. He said, ‘You are Rory McIlroy. What are you doing? What the f*** are you doing?’ It definitely helped, he did a great job. It was much appreciated.
“I was nervous, anxious, going out and timid. I really didn’t find the middle of the club face until the seventh tee. It was a lack of confidence from the last couple of weeks getting into my head a bit. But JP reminded me who I was and that helped and got me back in a positive frame of mind.”
“JP reminded me who I was..” There’s nothing more motivating than being basically told by your caddie that you are one of the best golfers in the world and to get your s**t together. Clearly it helped, because after that, McIlroy made four birdies on the back nine.
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) July 20, 2017
He went to bed “thinking of those last 12 holes” and came into the second day with a charge to be reckoned with. His 68 catapulted him into the Top-10, sitting pretty tied for 8th place.
“I have been working on a few things on the range and it didn’t quite translate onto the golf course. After seven holes I decided to have 100 per cent trust in myself and got better.”
It seems as though his caddie’s message was a turning point for the No. 4 golfer in the world, and his trust in himself will only lead him closer to victory. Making it into the weekend is definitely a good start.