O'Meara tells younger generation: 'Stop moaning'

The Northern Echo: OUT OF FORM: Rory McIlroy appears dejected with his caddy JP Fitzgerald after enduring a poor first day at the Open Championship at Muirfield Golf Club OUT OF FORM: Rory McIlroy appears dejected with his caddy JP Fitzgerald after enduring a poor first day at the Open Championship at Muirfield Golf Club

FORMER Open champion Mark O'Meara has urged the younger generation to stop moaning after showing the British exactly how to emerge from Muirfield in contention on the leaderboard.

With the exception of a one-under 70 from promising 24-year-old Oliver Fisher and a level par score from Devon's amateur Jimmy Mullen, all of the homegrown big guns failed to spark on the East Lothian links.

Former world No 1 and Close House touring pro Lee Westwood, so desperate to win his first major, is the best placed on one over alongside Ian Poulter and Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke.

But that triumvirate are six shots adrift of the overnight leader, the American Zach Johnson, while US Open champion Justin Rose has some work to do to make the cut after posting a 75 which included a double bogey six at the 15th.

Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald are in even worse shape going in to today's second round after a respective 79 and 80.

Despite the sunny conditions, most of the field struggled to shine and was uttered by a number of golfers as they left the last green.

Menacingly, though, Tiger Woods is nicely placed on two under after recovering from a penalty drop when his opening tee shot found a bush on the left.

And O'Meara, sitting alongside Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello in tied second, thinks anyone blaming the set-up of the course should focus on their own game instead.

The 56-year-old said: “I'm not saying that I haven't complained or got upset but I'm not a big fan of guys that get out there and whine a lot. I don't see any reason for it. Especially today's generation, they're so talented. And they're playing for so much money.”

O'Meara's comments followed a Tweet from Poulter which read: “Unfortunately the guys playing this afternoon are going to struggle with the pin positions. The 8th was a joke. All the 18th needed was a windmill and a clown face.”

Given Poulter's decent if unspectacular placing, he would appear to have been speaking out for a number of his Ryder Cup colleagues.

Luke Donald, tipped by many to go close here, finished on a dreadful nine over, while the out-of-sorts McIlroy's frustrations continued with a marginally better 79.

McIlroy's form and temperament has been under scrutiny for the last six months but particularly this week after Sir Nick Faldo urged him to concentrate on his golf rather than business or his personal life.

The 24-year-old, who claimed he felt his game was showing signs of promise on the eve of The Open, admitted last night that his focus keeps drifting.

McIlroy said: “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.

“I felt like I struck the ball OK. As long as I can somewhat get my mind in a better place, you know, I can go out there and try to shoot a good score tomorrow.”

He added: “It's not that I'm thinking about other things. I'm fully focused on golf out there. But it's been fully focused on each and every shot and what you want to do with it and visualization and everything. It's just something I've never experienced before.

“I actually didn't hit that many bad shots. I had a lot of good shots and actually made a couple of twos at the pars threes. But shooting a round like this is obviously not what you want. You've got to get back to the drawing board and think what you need to do differently.”

Faldo, who posted a 79 of his own at the age of 56, insisted the words of advice he keeps offering up to McIlroy is born out of affection for the second best golfer in the world.

The 1992 Open winner at Muirfield said: “I've known Rory since he was 12. I'm like a big grandad, here, saying exactly those things. Just give it your full attention when you want to play golf. I'm trying to give him a little caring, loving help.”

While Johnson leads the way on five under, Miguel Jimenez, Dustin Johnson, Tom Lehman and Brandt Snedeker are all only two shots adrift in tied fourth after shooting 68.

Former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and Sweden's Peter Hanson withdrew early on through injury when they were four over after eight and two over after five respectively.

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