Overwhelmed Rory McIlroy Throws in Towel

Rory McIlroy HONDA CLASSIC WD

Rory McIlroy, the current number-one-ranked golfer in the world, flat out quit in the middle of his 27th hole Friday at The Honda Classic. I happened to be at the “right place at the right time” Friday morning at PGA National Resort & Spa. While following Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els, and Mark Wilson, I spotted Rory McIlroy’s father Gerry and his swing coach Michael Bannon dressed head to toe in Nike gear, sporting black Nike backpacks. While walking up the 18th hole, I decided to approach them to say what a fan I am of Rory. McIlroy was 7-over for his round and had just his second shot in the water right attempting to reach the par-5 in two, so it was obvious the pair were not in the best of moods. Nonetheless Mr. McIlroy and Mr. Bannon were very kind to me and thanked me for my support of Rory. I followed Mr. Bannon as he took a seat on the hillside to watch Rory drop and play what would be his fourth shot to the green. The next thing I know, Rory McIlroy is walking over toward Mark Wilson scorecard in hand. I said out loud “Oh my G-d, is he withdrawing?” McIlroy’s father said, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”  I asked Bannon if anything was physically bothering Rory.” He said “Not that I know, you’ve got to ask Rory.”  It was clear to me that Rory had just walked off in frustration. He was 7-over-par, looking at an 8-over-par 43 first nine (back nine).  It was evident McIlroy was going to miss the cut and just threw in the towel. His frustration was ever visible when he let go of his driver immediately after hitting his drive on the 18th hole.  Maybe McIlroy was unfamiliar with PGA TOUR policy and decided he no longer wanted to continue re-enforcing bad habits. Earlier this week McIlroy himself admitted “If you put my swing now up the way I was swinging it last year, it’s chalk and cheese.” The swings he was making Friday lacked the same fluidity during the transition from the backswing to downswing that he had last year. The media can question his equipment change, but the way he was swinging Friday, there are no clubs that he would be winning with. It is quite laughable that McIlroy’s excuse was that he withdrew due to a “toothache”. Tiger Woods won the 2008 U.S. Open on a broken leg. Ken Venturi nearly died of heat exhaustion and continued to win the 1964 U.S. Open. Champions never quit.