Rory McIlroy shined a real unflattering light on himself when he walked off the course halfway through his second round at the Honda Classic on Friday. The number one golfer said today that leaving the course was a “reactive decision” and that he should have stayed and finished his round.
That was obvious to many of his golfing peers.
His playing partner Ernie Els said: “I’m a great fan of Rory’s, but I don’t think that was the right thing to do.”
Jack Nicklaus added: “He shouldn’t have walked off. If he had thought about it for 5 minutes, he wouldn’t have done it.”
McIlroy realized that he made a mistake and admitted today that it “was not the right thing to do.”
The golfer told Golf.com:
“It was a reactive decision. What I should have done is take my drop, chip it on, try to make a five and play my hardest on the back nine, even if I shot 85. What I did was not good for the tournament, not good for the kids and the fans who were out there watching me — it was not the right thing to do.”
McIlroy is the number one golfer at the moment but he wasn’t playing like it last week. He was 7 over par, thanks to two straight water shots, when he waled off the course at the Honda Classic. McIlroy said after the round that he wasn’t in the right “mental place” during the round and that he was suffering from tooth pain.
Apologies to all at the Honda. A tough day made impossible by severe tooth pain. Was desperate to defend title but couldn’t play on. Gutted
— Rory Mcilroy (@McIlroyRory) March 1, 2013
McIlroy said in an official statement:
“I sincerely apologize to The Honda Classic and PGA Tour for my sudden withdrawal … I have been suffering with a sore wisdom tooth, which is due to come out in the near future. It began bothering me again last night, so I relieved it with Advil. It was very painful again this morning, and I was simply unable to concentrate. It was really bothering me and had begun to affect my playing partners.”
The young golfer may claim that his poor play was related to tooth pain but several people have criticized McIlroy for cracking under the pressure of being number one. McIlroy also recently signed a huge contract with Nike and is playing with a set of unfamiliar clubs.
But Rory isn’t too worried about his clubs.
“I knew it was going to be a bit of a process, that there were going to be comments if good things didn’t happen for me right away. It’s not like I’m pushing for answers or I’m looking for answers. Everything’s there. It’s just a matter of putting it all together.”
McIlroy will get his first chance at redemption next week at Doral. Do you think Rory will be able to play through the tooth pain next week?