Rory McIlroy’s recent excellent form is because of him playing with a newfound edge, according to Paul McGinley.
McIlroy’s form has improved dramatically since his disappointing outing at the Open in Portrush last July, returning to No. 1 on the world rankings earlier this month since the first time since 2015.
The former Ryder Cup captain was speaking on Tuesday’s Off The Ball and was delighted to see the return of McIlroy’s competitive edge.
“We haven’t seen this for a while from McIlroy. We do see it now. He’s got his bite back. He’s got his competitiveness back and that edge, that little bit of narkiness about him. Which is when he plays at his best.
“He’s got a point to prove when he’s on the edge and he’s kind of a little bit pissed off. That’s when he seems to play at his best.
“That combined with a real upturn in his putting statistics is the reason why he’s gone on this surge of incredible play in the last number of months,” McGinley said.
The Northern Irishman denied he was playing with an increased edginess in an interview with Paul Kimmage, but McGinley wasn’t buying McIlroy’s comments.
“In terms of his interviews with Paul, is he playing a game there? We don’t know. We all do know that he makes a lot of contradictory comments. He says one thing then does another. I think that’s part of the competitiveness.
“Tiger Woods is like that. Look at Brooks Koepka - he’s a little bit like that too. They say one thing but actually you look at their behaviours and it’s slightly different.
“It’s all part of being a competitor and I don’t think that’s criticism. I think it’s not letting your guard down it’s portraying something and maintaining an image,” McGinley said.
'You don't have to be like Roy Keane to make statements'
McIlroy also denied being irked by Brooks Keopka’s recent barbs but McGinley felt that he was personally using the comments to drive himself on.
“As a competitor that’s the kind of reaction you want from McIlroy. That’s when he’s at his best. When he has a point to prove.
“If he doesn’t want to say it publicly that’s fine. There’s no problem with that. You don’t have to be a Roy Keane type figure to make statements,” McGinley said.