McIlroy briefing put back a day
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 will face the media on Wednesday for the first time since his shock withdrawal from the Honda Classic last week, having put back a scheduled press conference by 24 hours.
McIlroy claimed he was “in a bad place mentally” after pulling out of the defence of his title midway through his second round, but later released a statement to say a sore wisdom tooth was the reason for his early exit.
The world number one had played the opening eight holes of his round in seven over par, before finding a water hazard on the 18th and immediately quitting the tournament.
It was McIlroy’s first ever withdrawal from a tournament as a professional, but follows on from losing in the first round of the Accenture Match Play Championship to Shane Lowry and missing the cut in the Abu Dhabi Championship in his first event since signing a multi-million pound deal with Nike.
McIlroy has 14 days from the date of the withdrawal to submit written evidence to the PGA Tour to support his claim of medical grounds, with a fine or suspension possible if the body is not satisfied with his explanation.
But a more public explanation is also on the cards, with the 23-year-old to give a pre-tournament press conference at 9am local time in Miami (2pm Irish time) ahead of the WGC-Cadillac Championship on Wednesday.
Assuming he is fit to play, the Northern Irishman is at least guaranteed four rounds at Doral, as the $8.5 million event - won last year by Ryder Cup team-mate Justin Rose - has no cut.