Rough patch: Rory McIlroy withdraws at Palm Beach
photograph: stuart franklin
Rory McIlroy’s season lurched from a drama to a crisis when he walked off the course after just eight holes in the second round of the Honda Classic yesterday.
Seven over par for his round and struggling with his swing, the world number one from Holywood, Co Down, initially insisted he had no physical problems after he had apologised to his playing partners and headed for the car park. Close to tears at the time, McIlroy said: “I can’t really say much, guys. I’m just not in a great place mentally.” Within half an hour, a statement apologised, explaining he had a toothache.
McIlroy has been under pressure to perform after signing a $250 million deal to change from Titleist to Nike clubs in January. He missed the cut in his first tournament of the season in Abu Dhabi last month and lost to Shane Lowry in the first round of last week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play.
His Dublin-based management company, Horizon Sports, quickly moved to quash speculation his new clubs were to blame.
“We all know how good Rory is,” his agent Conor Ridge wrote. “It’s only a matter of time before he is firing on all cylinders. Rory has already clearly stated that he is very happy with what’s in his bag.”