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McIlroy Says He’s ‘Brain Dead’ After Shooting 79 in British Open

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July 18 (Bloomberg) -- Rory McIlroy said he feels “brain dead” after shooting an 8-over-par 79 in today’s opening round at the British Open.

The 24-year-old is 13 strokes behind leader Zach Johnson at Muirfield in Gullane, Scotland. He shot a 7-over 42 on the final nine holes in recording his second-worst score at golf’s oldest major championship.

“It’s just so brain dead,” the frustrated Northern Irishman told reporters. “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.”

McIlroy won his second major title at the PGA Championship in August and is winless this season after switching equipment suppliers to Nike Inc. in January. In his last four starts, he’s missed two cuts, and tied for 41st at the U.S. Open and for 57th at the Memorial Tournament.

“I don’t know what you can do,” he said. “You’ve just got to try and play your way out of it. But it’s nothing to do with technique. It’s all mental out there. Sometimes I feel like I’m walking around out there and I’m unconscious.”

McIlroy has been criticized for having too many outside distractions in his life, which includes a relationship with tennis champion Caroline Wozniacki. Three-time British Open champion Nick Faldo said this week McIlroy should concentrate on golf and nothing else.

“No, not at all, no, no,” McIlroy said today. “I’m fully focused on the golf out there.”

He said he can’t complicate things in tomorrow’s second round if he wants to play on the weekend.

“The thing that I need to do tomorrow is just go out there and freewheel it and try and make birdies and try and play with that little bit of whatever it is I have usually,” McIlroy said. “That’s what I’ve to try and go out and do tomorrow, even though it’s going to be tough.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch at the British Open in Gullane, Scotland at bbensch@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.