There are plenty of seasons that professional athletes hope to forget. For Tiger Woods it was 2010, when the aftermath of a personal scandal filled his life with questions that had little to do with his golf swing or putting stroke. Phil Mickelson was happy to see 2003 fade, as he went winless on the PGA Tour and carded just a single top-three finish, finishing outside the top-20 in three of the four majors conducted that season.
Rory McIlroy will happily wash his hands of his 2013, a season that saw him fail to win a single golf tournament and struggle in just about every event that mattered. He did all this on the heels of an equipment switch to start his season after winning the 2012 PGA Championship by eight shots, and many people pointed to his change to Nike as a reason for his struggles.
McIlroy, who is in Korea this week for the Korean Open, told the media that while his season wasn't what he wanted, it is definitely no fault of his equipment.
"Mechanically my golf swing ... I fell into a couple of bad habits and I was trying to work myself out of it. It affects mental issues as well.
"Golf is a game of confidence and if you are confident it allows you to play better and freer ... with a free mind. Definitely nothing to do with equipment."
This is one of those things that I completely stand behind Rory on. He switched clubs and balls and it does take a little time to get adjusted, but as an instructor once told me, Tiger could be given a regular shafted driver and a gutta percha golf ball and be completely fine after 15 minutes on the range.
Rory had a bad season because sometimes the best in the world have bad season, and anytime I was asked this season if I thought it was his golf clubs I vehemently disagreed with the claim. The kid is too talented, and the Nike gear is too advanced, not to eventually work when everything starts clicking.
McIlroy was also asked about the recent rumors that he and girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki split up, which he didn't exactly squash but did say he hopes to keep his private life a little more personal in the coming months, avoiding anything that could potentially bring more headlines his way.
"My private life is private and I would like to keep it that way," Rory said.