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Rory McIlroy surprised by Harrington's dip in form

Rory McIlroy said he was surprised by the recent dip in form suffered by triple major champion Padraig Harrington.

The 20-year-old McIlroy has climbed to 16th in the world rankings while Harrington has slipped to 11th from a high of third last year.

Irishman Harrington, who missed the cut in last week’s U.S. Open by eight strokes, has blamed his problems on a few small swing changes.

“I think everyone is surprised ,” Briton McIlroy, from Northern Ireland, told reporters at the BMW International Open on Wednesday.

“A three-times major winner in two years, a two-year span and then to have a run of form like he’s had, it is a surprise.

“Obviously he looked at his game at the end of the year and seen a few things he wanted to change or improve and he’s tried to do that and it has not quite worked.

“I’ve played a couple of practice rounds with him and he still hits it well. I watched him last week and it just seemed he was not hitting as many fairways as he needed to give himself chances for birdies.”

McIlroy said that Harrington’s modifications appeared so small that he could not detect any change.

“His swing looks the same to me when he won (his three majors) at Carnoustie, Birkdale and Oakland Hills. I’m sure it is still the same. It could be a slight fraction of the clubface at impact.”

After finishing tied 10th last week at Bethpage on his U.S. Open debut, McIlroy, in only his second season, has moved to third on Europe’s money-list and is strongly fancied to excel in next month’s British Open at Turnberry.

McIlroy, who practised at the west of Scotland course this week, has already worked out how he might need to play to become the youngest British Open winner in the modern era.

“I think the major thing on links courses are the shots around the greens, because you have so many tight run-offs,” he said. “And you have so many chip-and-runs; you could also be putting from 10 yards off the green. You get the feel for all that the actual week.”


June 25, 2009

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