Nick Faldo rips into Rory McIlroy over Masters act: 'Quite shocked'

The golf legend was taken aback by Rory McIlroy's unprecedented move for fans at the Masters.

Rory McIlroy is pictured with headphones on in the left side picture, with Nick Faldo on the right.
Rory McIlroy donned Airpods to speak with Masters broadcasters mid-round in a move criticised by golf great Nick Faldo. Pictures: Getty Images

Golf legend Nick Faldo has questioned Rory McIlroy's decision to conduct live interviews with the broadcast during his Masters campaign, saying he was 'shocked' by World No.2's choice. McIlroy donned a set of Airpods during his second round at Augusta, completing his round to be tied for 61st before play was suspended due to trees falling near the spectator area at the 17th tee.

McIlroy entered the Masters this year among the favourites after his runner-up finish last year, however his first two rounds left a lot to be desired. His decision to join the broadcast mid-way through his second round was an unprecedented one in Masters history - however American entrant Max Homa also spoke to commentators during his round.

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The 33-year-old won plenty of praise from fans for his willingness to talk through his round live, however Faldo suggested it was distracting from his game. He pointed out that cameramen have historically not been allowed within the ropes of the course, making the fairways a place for 'just you and your caddie'.

Though McIlroy had already done similar live interviews during the recent WGC Match Play, Faldo took to Twitter to suggest the World No.2 might have performed better without the headphones in. McIlroy is at five over par after two rounds, finishing at par in the second after a difficult first outing.

“I was quite shocked that Rory and Max put those AirPod things in and did a running commentary," Faldo wrote. “This is The Masters and we’ve been talking so much about how Rory said he was physically and technically in the right place — all of it was mental.

“I bet Bob Rotella (McIlroy’s sports psychologist) didn’t say ‘Oh tell the world what you’re doing’. I don’t honestly get that.

“This golf course, this tournament, is the most wonderful one because it’s just you and your caddie inside the ropes — there’s no still photographers allowed in — so you just do your own thing.

“And I would have thought for Rory to get off to a better start than he did just do your own thing, get in your own little world and don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Keep it a secret.”

Rory McIlroy stands by live interviews at Masters

Despite the combination of his lacklustre second round and the wild conditions leaving him unlikely to make the cut, McIlroy stood by his decision to join the broadcast. He described it as 'a cool thing to do'.

“I did it in Austin and didn’t feel like it took me out of my rhythm in any way or made me think about things too much,” he said. “So it’s nice to provide the audience at home a little bit more insight into what’s going on out there.”

Brooks Koepka extended his overnight lead, completing his round before play was suspended to hold a clubhouse lead at 12 under. Jon Rahm maintained his hold on second place, getting through nine holes before play was halted.

Australia's world No.5 Cam Smith posted a 68 with and eagle, three birdies and two bogeys as he prepares for the Masters starting on Thursday at Augusta National, where he boasts top-10 finishes in his last four starts. Smith was tied 14th, with Marc Leishman the next-best placed Australian a further three shots back after a 72. Jed Morgan (70) was tied 36th and Matt Jones (73) was tied 41st in the 48-player field.

Brooks Koepka.
Brooks Koepka extended his Masters lead before play was eventually suspended on day two. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Koepka will try to become the first multiple winner since the Saudi-funded LIV Golf began last June. He won a year ago in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in a playoff over Peter Uihlein. Before that, Koepka's last win was in February 2021 in the Phoenix Open as he battled a various assortment of injuries.

Koepka won four majors in a span of three years before joining LIV Golf - two U.S. Opens and two PGA Championships.

With AAP

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