THE trials of Rory McIlroy continued in the unforgiving courtroom of Muirfield yesterday.

The Northern Irishman's tally of 79 could be taken as convincing evidence that the ludicrously talented golfer is also capable of compiling absurd scores.

He cited temporary insanity in mitigation, describing himself as "brain dead" on the course. He faces a difficult day just to remain in East Lothian for the weekend. His third major is surely beyond him though optimists will cite 2010 when he shot an 80 at St Andrews and subsequently finished third.

The most worrying aspect of a feckless round by the world No.2 was his reaction later. "It's just so brain dead," he said. "I feel like I have been walking around out there like that for the last couple of months. I am trying to get out of it."

His simple solution was "to try to play your way out of it".

However, the 24-year-old was more revealing when he said: "It's nothing to do with technique. It's all mental out there. And then I just need to concentrate, obviously."

He added: "Sometimes I feel like I'm walking around out there and I'm unconscious. I just need to try to think more. I'm trying to focus and trying to concentrate. But I can't really fathom it at the minute, and it's hard to stand up here and tell you guys what's really wrong."

He may now contact Bob Rotella, the sports psychologist, whose clients have compiled 74 tour wins. Darren Clarke credited Rotella with helping him win the Open at Royal St George's in 2011.

"It's a very alien feeling, it's something I've never felt before," said McIlroy of his mindset on the course. "I have worked with Bob before a little bit. And, yes, it could be beneficial to see someone like that again. We'll see."

Of his round yesterday, which included four 6s, he said: "I feel like I drove the ball okay, but the thing is you have got to be so precise on this golf course, I felt like I had a couple of good drives that went in the rough."

He added: "But I just can't put it altogether mentally out there. I'm definitely under-thinking on the golf course, maybe over-thinking it off it. "I want to try to be here for the weekend," said McIlroy. "But the thing that I need to do tomorrow is just go out there and freewheel it and try to make birdies and try to play with that little bit of whatever it is I have usually. That's what I've to try to do tomorrow, even though it's going to be tough to make birdies."

It is a task that is not beyond his capabilities in terms of technique and talent. He was the youngest winner of the US Open since Bobby Jones in 1923, taking the tournament by eight shots. He repeated that margin at the USPGA Championship last year and with it began a fourth spell as the world No.1. He won four times in the USA during a stellar 2012, topping the PGA Tour and European Tour money lists and winning the DP World Tour Championship.

These highs have been followed by a dizzying fall in 2013 with detractors citing the difficulties of maintaining his relationship with Caroline Wozniacki, the tennis player. However, McIlroy has answered robustly criticisms from such as Nick Faldo, insisting he works a 12-hour day between practice on course and work in the gym.

The young man merely seems in a phase where he may need some direction. McIlroy will be back but he has work to do if he is to remain in the 142nd Open.