The number one player in the world of golf Rory McIlroy has withdrawn from The Honda Classic mid day Friday. Rory who is the defending champion of the Classic, left the course citing to press ” He was not in the right place mentally”. Later in the afternoon the PGA said Rory clarified that his reasoning was wisdom tooth pain that he could not put up with. He also stated that he plans on removing the bothersome teeth at some point in the near future, we’ll see if he’s got that planned or if it will cause him to miss a tournament he was otherwise planning on playing in.
Rory stopped playing on his 9th hole of his second round of play. McIlroy put up a 70 for par yesterday in his first round, but in his opening 9 holes today had so far gone 7 over. Clearly something was ailing him but never gave off the look of being in physical pain. After getting onto the 18th green Rory signaled his caddie that they were done, he never finished the hole and went directly to his car.
McIlroy who as always came into the season with a lot of hype following him. He signed a controversial deal with Nike and switched all his equipment and since the change has not looked the same. He missed the cut in his season opening event at Abu Dhabi with a pair of 75 opening two rounds. He was then upset in his first round of play in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship last weekend. While yes the Classic merely marked Rory’s 3rd official tournament of play since his club change, the road going forward looks very bumpy.
It’s no secret that when you play with certain clubs the majority of your career you get used to everything about them. Golfers are creatures of habit, and while a non golfer might look at the change and think it’s not a big deal, it is. Every person who has ever played golf knows exactly what I speak of. Have you ever had to rent a pair of clubs or borrow a friends? Yeah it’s quite different.
Just think back to when Tiger Woods changed his golf swing and how much he struggled at first. It was a long road to get back to where he is now, and many might say he’s still not what he was. The fact of the matter is Rory is an excellent golfer and the equipment change will take some time to get used to. He has a lot of tournaments left.
Rory is catching some flak from Ryder Cup teammate Paul Azinger who in a polite of a way as possible called Rory a sellout. Here is what Paul had to say about the situation on his twitter account: ”The worst thing a pro golfer can do to his GOLF GAME is change clubs for the money. Loving the clubs you play is priceless! #Rory.” I’m sure he’s not the only one thinking this.
McIlroy seems adamant that the club change was not a bad move, and that the pieces are there and he will put them together soon enough. When your fighting off every golfer in the world as #1 you don’t have too long to work with though. Analysts give Rory at least a couple weeks of low finishes before he could possibly see that top ranking go bye bye. We know Tiger will surely look to capitalize. Rory has got to move quick and get out of the funk.
All in all it’s a shame to see a player walk off mid round, especially to those that paid to maybe go see him. I get being in pain and you gotta do what you gotta do, but mid way through your 2nd round and obviously not making the cut, you think Rory could have just done his best to see his back nine through.
While yes the PGA makes it very clear that you can walk off and withdraw at any point it doesn’t come without some repercussions. Any time a player withdraws from play they are automatically disqualified from winning the PGA Tour’s scoring title which he is the defending winner of from 2012.
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