Famous sports psychologist: Rory McIlroy needed to accept his anxious thoughts

Sports psychologist and golf performance coach Jon Adler is one of the people who reacted to Rory McIlroy's performance at the US Open.

by Sead Dedovic
Famous sports psychologist: Rory McIlroy needed to accept his anxious thoughts
© Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images Sport

After Rory McIlroy's unsuccessful adventure at the US Open, reactions to his performance from well-known figures in the golf world quickly followed. Although the Northern Irishman had everything in his hands and was close to victory, Bryson DeChambeau showed greater focus and managed to break Rory McIlroy's dreams. 

The 35-year-old golfer was in the lead at one point, but two missed short putts settled the question of who would emerge as the winner. 

Rory McIlroy clearly has a problem with pressure and the expectations from fans and notable figures in the golf world. The media has been putting Rory in the spotlight for years, and such an environment has negative consequences for him. 

Sports psychologist and golf performance coach Jon Adler is one of the people who reacted to Rory McIlroy's performance at the US Open. In an interview with the media, Adler pointed out that Rory likely had a voice in his head during crucial moves that created a counterproductive effect. Anxiety can be a huge problem for athletes.

"Rory would have thought 'I can't miss this, you better not miss this', that little voice in your head, that's not the problem, when you think you shouldn't be having those thoughts, now I'm anxious because I'm anxious, I've got double the anxiety," he said, as quoted by EXPRESS.

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy© Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images Sport

Adler placed special emphasis on acceptance. When faced with a situation where there is immense pressure on you, it is natural to feel nervous and even experience moments of panic. What is crucial at that point is to stay calm and allow yourself to feel the anxiety without trying to fight it. More experienced golfers, including Rory, should know how to handle pressure better, but sometimes it is simply difficult to do so. Every golfer has a different mindset and different methods for dealing with pressure, anxiety, and stress.

"It's about accepting that I'm going to be anxious, accepting the thoughts when they come in but you deciding actually I'm not going to react to my worrying mind, I'm going to do something I've practiced over and over [again]."- Adler continued.

Judi James on Rory McIlroy's body language

Judi James, a body language expert, also commented on Rory's performance and specifically analyzed his body language at the moment when Bryson DeChambeau secured his victory. James noted that his body language during those moments appeared childlike. 

The Northern Irishman had interesting expressions, and his dissatisfaction was clearly noticeable. James pointed out that his hands on his lower back and then on his waist indicated that McIlroy wanted to reveal how he felt, without any intention of hiding his discomfort. 

McIlroy is a golfer who has never pretended to be something he is not. 

The 35-year-old was visibly frustrated, which is understandable considering he has been seeking unsuccessfully to win a Major for ten years. Losing in such a way brings out all those negative emotions. 

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy© Andrew Redington/Getty Images Sport

McIlroy's frustration will surely grow day by day, but his social media post a few days later confirmed that he has no intention of giving up on his goal. The Northern Irishman stresses that the moment will come when he will lift a Major, which will certainly pave the way for several more.

His defeat did not only cause reactions from psychologists, experts for body language, and the like. On the contrary, his unsuccessful adventure at the US Open caused a reaction from McIlroy's colleagues, who know how Rory feels at this moment. Scottie Scheffler is one of those who believes that the pressure on McIlroy is huge, so it is expected that McIlroy will have problems playing the big tournaments. Schauffele also looked back, sad for his colleague who was close to the finish line.

There are many others from the world of golf who looked back on McIlroy's negative experience. The most important thing in the whole story for the 35-year-old is to forget the US Open as soon as possible and enter the next tournaments with a different mindset. Rory is a man with experience, with a great CV and a great future. At this moment, it is important to support the closest, so that McIlroy believes in himself again and tries to reach the Major trophy.

The Genesis Scottish Open will be the next chance for Rory McIlroy and the next tournament in which he will try to do the right thing. The Northern Irishman is returning to the golf course soon, and we hope that the bad experience at the US Open will not affect his play at the Scottish Open. It is also interesting that McIlroy won this competition last year, which means that he will be one of the main favorites this time as well.

Rory Mcilroy Us Open