Sir Nick Faldo: Had urged McIlroy to 'concentrate on golf'
Sir Nick Faldo has dismissed speculation that he is embroiled in a row with Rory McIlroy, insisting he is like a "big grandad" to the world No 2.
In the build-up to the Open Championship at Muirfield, three-time champion Faldo suggested that a lack of practice was to blame for McIlroy's poor form this season.
Faldo suggested McIlroy needed to "concentrate on golf, nothing else" to regain his form, but the Northern Irishman hit back by claiming that "a few guys have forgotten how hard you have to work and how tough this game is."
But after both opened with eight-over 79s at Muirfield, Faldo said: "I'm friends with Rory - don't write it any other way. I've known him since he's 12. He's a big part of my Faldo Series.
"I'm like big granddad, here, saying exactly those things. Just give it your full attention when you want to play golf.
"When you want to disappear and have a family and do other things, but don't add anymore... get me? I'm trying to give him a little caring, loving help here."
"When you're a golfer, concentrate on your golf and then you have your charity. Just keep it minimal. I'm speaking from experience. Don't go off into the business world, because he's got tons of time for that.
"If you're going to retire somewhere in your 40s, who knows with 10 majors, you'll be a pretty darned good businessman for the next 50 years of your life. That's what I'm trying to say."
Faldo, celebrating his 56th birthday, played alongside fellow veterans Fred Couples and Tom Watson in his first Open appearance for three years.
He was up against it after opening with two bogeys, but he said: "I was enjoying it. That view standing on the first tee with the crowd and the people in the stands and everything - I'll take that one as my shot of the day.
"It's giving me a lot more ideas (about playing) - like none. You won't be seeing me next year, no way. I'm not saying that's it, but who knows? St Andrews is my next port of call (in 2015) - if I want to.
"I've got to pace myself. This is one tournament in the last three years. Steady on. One in a row."