US Open 2013: Problems for Rory McIlroy but hard work will get him through
Coach Justin Parsons has seen Rory McIlroy working hard at his game at first hand for years and has no doubt he can get back to his best
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: 11/06/13 2:28pm
It's fair to say things have so far not gone to plan in 2013 for Rory McIlroy, who started the year as word No 1 and signed a huge deal with Nike, but it won't be long before he gets back in his stride.
A man who knows him better than most is Justin Parsons, a fellow Northern Irishman who now earns his living teaching golf out at the Butch Harmon School of Golf in Dubai.
The venue is a main stopover for McIlroy over the winter months, and it was here and the attached Els Club golf course where McIlroy tested out his new sticks as he made that big switch.
Parsons, a friend of McIlroy, his father Gerry and his coach Michael Bannon, has seen McIlroy up close and personal working on his game, and as a top coach himself knows exactly just what a talent the two-time major winner.
A raft of missed cuts, a walk-off during the Honda Classic and now a proposed split with his management have all troubled McIlroy somewhat, but with undeniable talent and after witnessing his work ethic Parsons is in now doubt he will bounce back.
"I've known Rory since he was a kid, he's been coming here for years, he used to come down to the Montgomerie and then we opened the Butch Harmon Academy here he moved over here.
Rory testing out his game at the Butch Harmon facility in Dubai
"He comes out in the winter time just to work on his game, sometimes he brings his coach Michael Bannon with him. He was out here before he switched his clubs. That was a big move for him so he spent a lot of time here just working things out, as it's always a big change for a player but especially with him being world No 1 so he was here trying things out.
"He took to the irons straight away, and the fairway woods, it was just a bit of trouble with the driver and putter at first, but as you can see recently he's started to iron that out.
"Remember there was a lot going on his life then, he had this big new deal, had just moved out to Florida and was with Caroline (Wozniacki, his girlfriend) so a lot was happening, and you always find when a golfer has a busy time in their personal life their golf can suffer a bit.
"And with Rory he's such a dynamic player and good ball striker, his margin for error on each of his full shots is so narrow, so he can be just a touch off and things can go wrong - but things are starting to settle down know.
"Plus he's a great lad, very down to earth and never takes anything too seriously so for him I don't think it'll be a big problem getting back to his best."
And when McIlroy is trying to work on his game, just what sort of training and practising serves him best?
"Rory likes to blast it when he's practising," Parsons added. "He's not the type of guy you'll find standing on the range just hitting balls for hours upon end, everything has to be focused on him improving.
"So he'll be out hitting balls for 45 minutes or so, driving and hitting irons, then he'll move out to the short game area and some putting, before doing nine or 18 holes and then coming back and working on anything that was wrong when he was on the course.
"He's very focused on improving, so he'll always look at the trackman stats and ball flight and spin rates and so on and he's obviously worked hard on his fitness and specific golfing fitness work in the gym which we have here.
"Everyone always talks about Rory's power, and it all comes from his hips and lower body rotation. He's got such quick hips and he can turn through so quickly that generates so much power, he's quickly than arguably any other player on Tour in that respect and that's where it comes from.
"It's funny watching him, sometimes Michael Bannon and I have a chat about his swing and knowing them both as I do I hope sometimes I can offer some good suggestions for them on his swing.
"Criticism of Rory was hard for Michael, as a teacher or a coach if your player's not swinging at his best you take some of the stick for that as well as the player, but he's been swinging it much better recently."