SIR Nick Faldo has insisted that comments he made about Rory McIlroy earlier in the week were designed to be helpful to the 24 year-old Northern Irishman, who endured a painful opening round at the Open yesterday.
Few would have placed a bet on the world No 2 carding the same first round score, 79, as Faldo, who came out of semi-retirement to play.
It was Faldo’s first competitive round in three years and seemed to bear out the treble Open winner’s belief that McIlroy needs to start concentrating more on golf. Faldo, who is considering playing only one more Open, at St Andrews in 2015, stressed that he was only looking to offer guidance to McIlroy, someone he considers a friend. He described himself as a “big granddad” to McIlory, and said he had been trying to give him “a little caring, loving help”.
Faldo advised McIlroy to learn from his mistakes and not become distracted by such complications as business opportunities. Faldo, who turned 56 yesterday, was also rocked by three failed marriages. “You have a window as an athlete,” he said. “Concentrate totally on your golf. He’s going to have a wife and children, and get yourself a charity you believe in.
“Just keep it minimal. I am speaking from experience – don’t go off in the business world. He’s got tons of time for that. If you are going to retire sometime in your 40s, who knows with maybe ten majors, then you’ll be a pretty damned good businessman for the next 40 years of your life.
“That is what I was trying to say. I got involved in business and it completely changed my mindset. I’m friends with Rory. I have known him since he was 12. I’m like a big granddad here.”
McIlroy and Faldo passed one another outside the clubhouse yesterday but did not speak.