WATCH: Rory McIlroy on the "extra 2%" holding him back and picking the brains of Paul O'Connell

Off The Ball's Nathan Murphy caught up with him ahead of 'An Evening with Rory'

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy talks to the Irish players ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Rory McIlroy feels he is close to his best but is just being held back by "that extra 2%".

The World No 3 golfer was speaking to Off The Ball's Nathan Murphy before going on stage with Alex Ferguson at last night's 'An Evening with Rory' and with the Irish Open starting on Thursday.

"I feel I'm awfully close to getting into that zone. I was actually just talking to Sir Alex about this upstairs. I feel like ability-wise and everything on the golf course is all there but it's that extra 2% or the mental side of it that I feel is just slightly holding me back at the minute and that's turning tournaments where I feel like I should be able to win into finishing fourth or tenth," he said.

 

 

The Holywood golfer also spoke about picking the brains of elite athletes from other sports.

"Once you do get to a certain level, you do look at different sports and seek out guys at the top of their sport and what you can take from them," he said.

"Speaking to the likes of Sir Alex, who's been at the top of his profession for so many years, and you look at other guys, I've gotten to know some of the tennis players like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray and a few of the football players. I think once you get to the top level that extra 1-2% can make a huge difference.

"Even a couple of weeks ago I went on holiday and bumped into Paul O'Connell and we were just chatting about loads of different things and obviously at the end of his career what he perceived as success and what he felt like he did to achieve the things that he did, and picking the brains of guys who have been at the top level, it's always interesting for me as a golfer but also as a sports fan to get into these guy's heads."

And looking ahead to the Irish Open, he admitted his recent performances at the event, which his foundation is sponsoring, have been "pathetic", but is optimistic of raising his game this time.