The 3 Keys To Rory McIlroy's Mental Game

November 18, 2022
3 mins
James S

You often hear golf commentators say that there's no one better to watch than Rory McIlroy 'when he's on' or 'when he's in full flow'. Recently at the RBC Canadian Open, you could see what they meant.

Apart from a few shaky holes in the middle of the round, McIlroy was mesmerising.

So what are the mental game keys that allow Rory to unlock peak performance? How does he work on his mental game to help him play his best?

  1. Mantra

Rory has a favourite saying: "Don't let your golf influence your attitude. Let your attitude influence your golf".

We've seen Rory get down on himself in the past. His head drops, he doesn't have that bounce in his step. When he's struggling with his game and on the back foot, it's like he loses momentum and motivation.

This week, Rory was clearly positive and loving every minute, even when he hit a couple of horribly uncharacteristic drives coming down the stretch, he didn't waver. That's testament to a great attitude.

  1. Meditation

McIlroy has practiced meditation since 2019, when he credited it for a fantastic run of events that year, including a win at the 2019 Players.

More recently, Rory has talked about a state of ignorance and indifference being key to his return to form. Meditation doesn't teach ignorance, per se, but it can certainly help to quieten your mind and allow you to remain more present and centred.

The benefits of this? Increased concentration levels, better decision-making under pressure, and a reduction in the emotional response to bad shots. Plus, an increased likelihood of entering a state of flow, which, when seeing the effortless with which Rory was playing on Sunday afternoon, he was arguably in.

  1. Course Management

Rory started to lose his game a little bit on the back 9, missing a couple of short putts, hooking a couple of drives. In recent times, we've seen him unravel further (think the shirt ripping incident on the DP World Tour) at the close of big tournaments.

But this time, he never panicked. That is thanks to his course management, and the new trust he has in his wedge game. No more ripping wegge shots back off the front of the green, no, that seems to be the Rory McIlroy of the past.

This new Rory was knocking wedge shots close all day. On 11 he hit a bad tee shot, but got himself back in play before stiffing a sand wedge from 110 yards to make birdie.

Another example came at the 14th from 107 yards, this time helping him to save par. Rory was taking his medicine, not taking potentially costly risks.

So, through managing his round he was able to keep his neck in front. He stayed patient, put faith in his wedge game, and it worked.

You can develop all the same mental skills as Rory, by downloading the Golf Guru app. We have pre-round pep talks, guided meditations and driving range sessions to help your course management and so much more. The most effective app for your mental game, it is available now in both app stores.