Rory Mcilroy. And the Xtra club in his bag.

28 May 2024, Tuesday

Posted 22.february 2015

Despite his ridiculous talent, Rory Mcilroy has never won at The Masters. Is that about to change ?

Over the last ten years The Masters has produced different winners, with only Phil Mickelson winning more than once. It shows that it’s more than just raw talent and current form that carries one to a green jacket .This is a tournament that demands the ‘X’ factor to be in play – during the month of April. Well Rory certainly has plenty ‘X’ factor, and it’s been a while since anyone has lead the world golf rankings by a country mile , but he has never worn the green jacket.

However, this year it’s another ‘X ‘factor , which will come into play and can make all the difference – it’s the ‘X’tra club that Rory has in his bag. It’s called mentorship.

Rory Mcilroy has a fantastic official site : It reads as follows: I am an athlete, I am a golfer, and I am a fan .I am a son, I am Rory. Rory is only 25, but he seems to have all the aces. And he’s intuitively wise for his age, when it comes to choosing his inner circle of confidantes. Mentors such as his dad have certainly helped him reach the top of the world golf rankings, but of more significance is his recent bonding with an icon. Since buying a home in Florida, Rory has formed a close relationship with Mr. & Mrs. Jack Nicklaus. And some type of magical marketing multiplier has kicked in! His personal brand has gone from great to greater. And he’s beginning to win with ease. In Dubai he won without even attacking the flag.

The funny thing about mentorship is that the higher one climbs up the ladder , whether in sport , business or life – the more it begins to impact on human greatness , which can best be described as achieving sustained success and significance . Just ask Tiger who has struggled to bounce back after losing his ‘one and only’ mentor – his dad in 2006. His major wins have dried up, while Rory’s career is igniting ,with two major wins in 2014.There’s some kind of magic, when a great champion is humble enough to ask for help, and teams up with someone who has gone before. And it’s a kind of magic that works both ways, as great is never achieved alone.

For Jack Nicklaus, it’s the opportunity to ‘pass the torch’, the joy of helping, feeling appreciated and needed, and the fun of teaching. It’s a human blessing to know that one’s ideas are being implemented by someone else for greater good. For Rory, it certainly cannot be easy ‘taking a balance’ at the top of the world golfing ladder. Especially when one gets hauled into court battles. Hunted on and off the course . It’s nice to know that someone has got your back. Someone who has been there. Someone who cares more about you, than all the fanfare. Someone who guards and protects the fine lines of the life balance Someone who encourages ‘the swagger’ in Rory’s step, but keeps him grounded as Rory – the fan – the human being. Someone who believes in you. Thanks Jack.  And thanks Mrs Nicklaus.

Thanks to his mentors, Rory seems to have a great insight into his higher purpose in life – to entertain, to educate and to inspire millions through his golfing genius. It seems that winning is just an added bonus for him (his goals and how much winning he will do, are scribbled on the back of his Dublin – Dubai boarding pass). A reward for entertaining, educating and enriching the world!

And it’s often the small defining moments that make all the difference, and prove to be the real life ‘game changers’ in the life of great champions! Having wisely terminated his wedding plans to tennis ace Caroline Wozniacki, and having settled his contractual disputes with his former agent, the exhausting courtroom monkey is finally off his back – and my bet is that he’ll bring on his A-game and romp home in the Masters this April. That’s because he‘s receiving a master class in ‘life balance’ from a supreme mentor, Jack Nicklaus. Unlike Tiger, Rory was fully open to it. Great champions have a way of becoming more humble with more success – they do more listening and having ‘a believer’ makes a world of difference.

I think Rory is an unbelievable talent. I love his swing, his rhythm, his spirit. He has got a little swagger there, it’s a little bit cocky, but it is not offensive. I like that self-confidence in a young man. Jack Nicklaus commenting on the fine lines of great champions

In Jack Nicklaus’s case, the ‘X’tra club in his bag, throughout his career on his way to 18 Major victories, was his wife – a backer and a believer. She understood the ‘loneliness’ of a great champion – and a golfing genius. Now, Jack himself stands as ‘the believer’ behind Rory Mcilroy. At age 25, he is already ahead of Jack’s curve, so surely it’s going to be Rory’s time at the Masters – or it’s going to take some extra special effort from someone else to keep him at bay.

Helping someone else achieve their own success is just about the most rewarding thing one can do.

Mentorship is a wonderful gift. Best of all, it comes free. I’m yet to meet anyone who has gone backwards as a result of finding a great mentor. It’s the hidden ‘extra club’ in anyone’s bag.

Never stop seeking out mentors, especially if you’re the No.1, the boss, the CEO!

*Here’s a  recent video posted by Nike . It  captures Rory’s dream.  Enjoy !

Rob Opie, is a brand strategist, key note speaker, author and ‘game changer’  to organizational teams , sporting teams  and individuals. For more insight and inspiration derived from the great champions of business , sport  and life itself  – please visit