News & Opinion

Rory McIlroy fires back at Tom Weiskopf

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy contends that he still has the will to win.

Criticized as lacking the ‘will to be the best,’ McIlroy tells Golfweek, ‘I’ve been the best,’ adding, ‘I try my heart out’

Rory McIlroy and Tom Weiskopf are separated by a couple of generations, a few major championships and, in a recent development, any mutual understanding of what it takes to be one of golf's all-time greats.

In a recent interview with Golfweek’s Adam Schupak, Weiskopf ripped McIlroy as lacking motivation to win more of golf’s biggest titles.

“Golf is something just for Rory to do,” said Weiskopf, 78, whose 16 PGA Tour victories include the 1973 British Open. “I’ve said it for a while now, that I don’t think he’ll win much more than the four [major championships] he’s got, or maybe five, because I don’t see that determination and will to be the best.”

Pressed by Schupak for specifics, Weiskopf added: “I don’t see any frustration. Life is good, and it should be – he’s a multi, multimillionaire and has a kid now – but I don’t see the Tiger [Woods] attitude. It’s like he’s satisfied all the time.”

McIlroy, 31, whose wife, Erica, gave birth to the couple’s first child, daughter Poppy Kennedy, on Aug. 31, owns 18 PGA Tour titles, including four major championships.

When asked by Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch to respond to the broadside, the Northern Irishman showed some of the fire that Weiskopf said was lacking.

“I’ve never met Tom Weiskopf in my life; he’s never met me. So, he’s obviously making a statement based on what he sees from the outside, but I don’t think that’s a fair assessment. I’ve shown throughout my career that I care, that I want to win, that I want to be the best. And I’ve been the best,” said McIlroy, who was ranked No. 1 in the world as recently as mid-July. “It’s not as if I’m out there in the clouds and not thinking about it. I try my heart out on every single shot, every single tournament that I play. I maybe deal better with disappointment than I used to. I saw the interview where he said he sees no frustration. Like, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I mean, look at the Zozo. I’m breaking clubs, so there’s a bit of frustration there. Obviously, he didn’t watch that round of golf.”

McIlroy, who is No. 4 in the Official World Golf Ranking, has not won in 13 months, since the 2019 WGC HSBC Champions. He tied for fifth at the recent Masters, the only title that he lacks for the career Grand Slam, after having shot himself out of contention with an opening-round 75.

Sign up to receive the Morning Read newsletter, along with Where To Golf Next and The Equipment Insider.