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Champion golfer credits Rooney for getting putting game on track

Apparently Wazza has helped Rory McIlroy focus again

Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented By MasterCard - Final Round Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The international break is always good for unearthing some gems, usually from outside the world of football. This story today is right up there.

Northern Ireland golfer Rory McIlroy took the world of golf by storm about seven years ago when as a 21-year-old he became the youngest player to ever lead the Masters tournament on the first day, and even went on to win the US Open that year with a record lowest score in the tournament’s history.

After winning four majors in the early years of his career though, the player has struggled with injuries and a loss of form in the last couple of years. However, he put together a solid four-day performance over the last weekend to win the Arnold Palmer invitational in Florida, and then credited his strong putting that won him the title to an unlikely source.

McIlroy has been a lifelong fan of Manchester United, and a few years ago he shot a Nike commercial with Wayne Rooney.

In an interview after his tournament win on Sunday, McIlroy claimed that he was able to get his putting back on track after remembering what Rooney does before a run-up to take penalties and free-kicks (via ASAP Sports) -

Q. Brad Faxon mentioned something about Wayne Rooney. Can you explain what that was?

RORY McILROY: We were talking about different sports. And he was talking about a free throw shooter in basketball or he was trying to say even something you relate it to with football back home or whatever.

And I actually said when I spent a bit of time -- we’re talking about triggers, how do you start your putting stroke. How do you start your putting stroke, whether it’s -- everyone has different ways to start their swings or strokes. And I sort of said Rooney, before he hits a free kick or before he hits a penalty, he taps his toe on the ground before he actually starts his run up. And I sort of noticed it when I shot a Nike commercial with him a few years ago. That was really what it was.

Here was Rooney’s last penalty attempt for Everton, against Brighton a couple of weekends ago.

DISCLAIMER: With Rooney’s career record of 38 goals scored out of 48 penalties taken, we would not recommend McIlroy follow Wazza’s example, but hey, if it’s working for him, go for it.

A quick look at McIlroy’s highlights from last weekend’s final round doesn’t show him doing the little jig Rooney does before a run-up, you might have to watch him in person to see if he does it before he gets into his putting stance.