WORLD NUMBER THREE Rory McIlroy has backed Adam Scott to recover from his dramatic collapse at the British Open.
Australian Scott led the third major championship of the year by four shots going into the final round, but bogeyed the last four holes to gift victory to South African Ernie Els.
McIlroy experienced a similar disappointment in 2011, leading the US Masters by four strokes after three rounds, only to post a nightmare eight-over-par 80 and drop out of contention on the last day. The Holywood man bounced back by winning the US Open in style two months later, and he believes Scott also has what it takes to get over his disappointment at Royal Lytham and St Annes.
“I sent him a text straight after,” McIlroy said. ”I sort of felt like I knew how he was feeling. I just said to him, don’t let the last four holes hide the fact that you played better than everyone else for the first 68.
“For me, as well, at Augusta, I had to really tell myself, look, for the first 63 holes you were better than everyone else. It’s not my fault, it’s not his fault that a golf tournament is 72 holes. If it was 68 holes, he would have won the tournament, or 69 holes. It just happens to be 72.
“You just have to really believe in yourself and believe that for those 68 holes you were the best player that week.”
Scott returns to competitive action this week as he seeks to retain the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational near Akron, Ohio. McIlroy, who will be part of a stellar field aiming to steal Scott’s crown, believes the experience of suffering such a painful defeat could ultimately equip the Australian to succeed on the biggest stage.
“You know, it’s tough … it’s a tough loss,” he said. ”At that moment in time you think it’s the only chance you’re ever going to get, and your whole world came crashing down. But in reality, Adam is such a great player that he’s going to have plenty of chances to win more major championships.
“I said it at the time at the Masters that you need to lose before you can win. You need to learn how to handle that. I’m sure he knows what he’s done wrong, and I’m sure that when he gets himself in that position again that he’ll do the right thing.”
The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational begins at Firestone Country Club tomorrow.