(Reuters) – Australian Jason Day is the “most-equipped” among golf’s current leading quartet and world number four Rory McIlroy is falling behind him, according to three-times Masters winner Nick Faldo.
World number one Day has already won three PGA tours this year, including the World Golf Championship in March, more than any other in the top-four so far, but missed out on the U.S. Open to world number two Dustin Johnson.
“Right now the most-equipped is Jason Day. Physically, technically and mentally he is a little bit better in all those departments than the other three guys,” Faldo told British media.
Four-times major champion McIlroy has slipped behind Jordan Spieth to fourth in the rankings and has never been in major contention since his US PGA Championship triumph in August 2014.
Faldo, the last Englishman to win the Open Championship, back in 1992, felt McIlroy relies too much on emotion to succeed.
“Mentally, Rory runs on emotion, which is great when he’s up and you see that spring in his step, but he gets a little deflated if the putter is not working or a few drives are pounded out not in the right place,” the 58-year-old said.
Despite McIlroy currently having three more major championship wins than Day, Faldo said he would put his money on the Australian to finish his career with more majors because of his technical superiority.
“If Rory played like he did two years ago I’d say he might be disappointed if he only won 19. Right now he’d be very delighted to get five and start the train again,” Faldo said.
Golf’s top four have pulled out of next month’s Rio Games due to concerns over the Zika virus but Faldo said he would have loved to be part of the game’s first Olympic appearance since 1904.
“I would have gone. I would have loved the chance to compete for a gold medal. The title is fantastic,” Faldo said.
“If you are Olympic champion you hold it for four years and you are an Olympic gold medalist for life. Unfortunately, it’s just not big on the guys’ radar. It really isn’t.”
(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)