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February 05, 2013

Sandy Lyle fears McIlroy club switch could trigger Duval-like nosedive

Posted at 12:54 PM by Mike Walker | Categories: David Duval, Rory McIlroy, Sandy Lyle

SandylyleWith two major titles at age 23, the No. 1 ranking and a new multimillion-dollar endorsement contract with Nike, Rory McIlroy is on top of the golf world.

Two-time major winner Sandy Lyle remembers another player who changed clubs when he reached the summit, David Duval. And in an interview with Reuters, Lyle said he hopes McIlroy will avoid the doubts that derailed Duval's career after Duval switched clubs.

"That move hurt the momentum of David's career," said the 1985 British Open champion and 1988 U.S. Masters winner. "He wasn't driving the ball well which put the pressure on his putting and that in turn put pressure on him making cuts.

"David then started on a horrible spiral of missing cuts. It could be that all stemmed from his problems with his new driver and it could be the same thing for Rory now.

"Rory's momentum was very good last year but it can be very dangerous to change clubs," added Lyle, referring to the world number one's five worldwide wins in 2012 and his money-list victories on both sides of the Atlantic.

"David never got out of his spiral. He definitely took a huge kamikaze dive and never really got it back."

Lyle wasn't all doom-and-gloom about McIlroy's prospects. He said he suspects McIlroy will be fine with the club switch since he is "too young and too fit and swinging the club too well."

"It might just be that he goes through a bit of a hiccup for a few months before he gets back into full flow but the Duval story is not something you should just wipe away and not pay attention to."

[Photo: Sandy Lyle at the 2012 Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, Getty Images.]

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