Rory McIlroy has hit back at Tom Weiskopf for suggesting he lacked the determination to win more major titles.
Weiskopf himself was regarded as an underachiever during his playing career as he struggled to fulfil lofty expectations that led to him being labelled as “the next Nicklaus”.
He would win only one major, The Open in 1973, although he gained infamy four years later when he refused to play on the United States Ryder Cup team as he had already booked a hunting trip.
Weiskopf, now 78, claimed in an interview with Golfweek that McIlroy lacked the same desire and determination as the likes of Dustin Johnson to break his major drought which has now stretched to over six years.
“I look at Rory McIlroy and I think golf is something just for Rory to do,” Weiskopf said. “I’ve said it for a while now that I don’t think he’ll win much more than the four he’s got, or maybe five, because I don’t see that determination and will to be the best.
“I don’t see any frustration. Life is good and it should be – he’s a multi, multi-millionaire and has a kid now – but I don’t see the Tiger [Woods] attitude. It’s like he’s satisfied all the time.
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“The guy is not a good putter. He can hit some putts so off line with the wrong speed. He’s technically not a good putter but one of the purest swings you’d ever want to watch play in the game. Technically, he’s superior to Dustin Johnson, but Dustin has the confidence to do it every time.
“I know Rory works out but I bet if you watched them both work out, Rory would be a lot of laughs and giggles and Dustin would be balls to the wall and forcing a little bit more on himself and that’s what he’s done.”
Weiskopf’s assessment was branded as unfair by McIlroy in a Q&A with the same magazine, and the world No 4 believes the American was wrong to give such a forthright opinion over a player he has never met.
“I’ve never met Tom Weiskopf in my life, he’s never met me,” said McIlroy. “So he’s obviously making a statement based on what he sees from the outside, but I don’t think that’s a fair assessment.
“I’ve shown throughout my career that I care, that I want to win, that I want to be the best. And I’ve been the best. It’s not as if I’m out there in the clouds and not thinking about it. I try my heart out on every single shot, every single tournament that I play.
“I maybe deal better with disappointment than I used to. I saw the interview where he said he sees no frustration. Like, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I mean, look at the Zozo. I’m breaking clubs, so there’s a bit of frustration there. Obviously, he didn’t watch that round of golf.”
McIlroy also gave his approval to the “strategic alliance” announced last week between the PGA and European Tours, believing it will be of huge benefit to more European players while dismissing the Premier Golf League proposals out of sight.
“I liked it,” added McIlroy. “Golf needs to be more cohesive, we all need to be pulling in the same direction. If this alliance can be done in the right way I think it provides a better pathway for Europeans to get on the PGA Tour. I can’t see any negatives with it.
“I obviously saw a lot of negatives in the other proposal put to the European Tour by Raine Group and Premier Golf League. I felt like I was one of the players who could see this objectively because I still have a long runway in my career and, you know, I’m going to make money regardless.
“What is better for the game? I can’t see how a big part of the top level of golf being controlled by a private equity group is good for the game. I just can’t see how that works. I’m totally behind what happened. There’s still a lot of details to be hashed out, but it’s a massive step in the right direction.”
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