2013 British Open: Can Rory McIlroy beat Nick Faldo at Muirfield?
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2013 British Open: Can Rory McIlroy beat Nick Faldo at Muirfield?

Rory McIlroy and Sir Nick Faldo traded barbs about preparation ahead of the 2013 Open Championship.

When it came to getting down to play golf, it turned out their preparation led to the same result. Both McIlroy and Faldo opened with 8-over 79 at Muirfield, leaving them both unlikely to make the weekend.

After his round, McIlroy declined to place the blame anywhere other than in the 5-inch space between his ears.

"Sometimes I feel like I'm walking out there and I'm unconscious," McIlroy said.

When asked if the issue was primarily a lack of confidence, McIlroy concurred that was exactly the problem. He waxed openly about possibly seeing a sports psychologist to deal with the doubt creeping into his mind for the first time in his career.

"It's just so brain dead," he said. "Seriously, I feel like I've been walking around out there like that for the last couple of months. I'm trying to get out of it. I just don't quite know why."

The 79 is the second-worst major round of the Ulsterman's career, a shot shy of the 80 he carded in nearly unplayable conditions in the second round of the 2010 Open Championship. In 2013, McIlroy is now 24 over par in the majors.

Meanwhile, Faldo tried to defuse any rivalry with the world No. 2, defending his comments about McIlroy's commitment to golf by saying, "I’m trying to give him a little caring, loving help here.”

As for who will fare better in Round 2, at the behest of Golf News Net, one Betfair agent has put up odds tomorrow on Faldo versus McIlroy.

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]thegolfnewsnet.com

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