McIlroy admits to 'seeing red'
World number one Rory McIlroy walks off the course with caddie JP Fitzgerald during the second round of the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. McIlroy later said severe pain from a wisdom tooth had forced him to abandon the round. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
World number one and defending champion Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks off the course before putting on the 18th hole, his ninth, during the second round of the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
Golf:Rory McIlroy has moved to defuse tomorrow's face-to-face with the media by revealing exclusively to a US magazine that walking off the course at the Honda Classic last Friday "was not the right thing to do.”In a move designed to take the pressure off McIlroy ahead of his news conference at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Donald Trump's Doral Resort in Miami, the world number one told Sports Illustrated's Golf.com that he was "seeing red" when he walked off the course after completing just eight holes of his second round in the Honda Classic and that his toothache was an easy excuse.
“It was a reactive decision,” McIlroy said. “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.”
When McIlroy left the course on Friday he told a group of reporters, including this one, that he was "not in a good place mentally". This excuse appeared to clash with a press release issued by his management company more than an hour later saying he was in pain because of a problem with a wisdom tooth and did not want to distract his playing partners with his poor play
According to the interview, McIlroy admits that the wisdom tooth story was just an excuse though his bottom right impacted wisdom tooth, which is being treated by his childhood dentist in Belfast, was causing him pain and will be extracted soon.
Dropping seven shots in eight holes was even more painful and when hit his second shot into the water on his ninth hole, the 18th, he admitted to himself, “I don’t want to be here.”
McIlroy revealed that it was his faulty swing more than miulti-million dollar move to Nike that was the true cause of his meltdown.
“The driver and the ball took some time to get used to, but I had weeks at Nike before the start of the year, and I feel comfortable with all the equipment,” he said. “The problem is, I’m bringing the club too upright on the backswing then dropping it in too much on the downswing.”
McIlroy's manager Conor Ridge scotched stories speculating that the 23-year old had split up with his girlfriend, tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, explaining that the couple had been in telephone contact over the weekend.
According to Golf.com: "McIlroy told Ridge he wasn’t reading any of the commentary about his withdrawal and that he was staying off Twitter. 'Whatever people are saying, I probably already said to myself,' McIlroy said."
Criticised in the past for his inability to dig deep, McIlroy admitted that he need to be more like Tiger Woods, who never gives up no matter how poorly he is playing. “He might be the best athlete ever, in terms of his ability to grind it out,” McIlroy said on Sunday night. “I could have a bit more of that, if I’m honest.”