McIlroy: "I've taken my eye off the ball"

Rory McIlroy

While both Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington faced tough days on Tour, each coped with defeat in markedly different ways.

At the BMW PGA Championship on Friday, both shot calamitous 79s to miss the cut -- McIlroy by eight strokes on nine-over-par and Harrington by 10.

Said 23-year-old McIlroy, "I may have taken my eye off the ball a little bit."

Just 19 days before he defends his US Open crown in San Francisco, he vowed: "I'll have to go and really work hard and try to get it (his game) back to the level that it was leading into the Masters."

Asked precisely how he'd taken his eye of the ball, McIlroy went on: "I don't know, maybe just not practising as hard as I might have been.

"I feel like I've put the work in, but I'll think long and hard about it tonight, have a good chat with my team and make sure I'm ready for the next few events."

According to the Irish Independent, McIlroy seems to have trouble dealing with adversity and his spirits can sag too easily on the golf course.

His club-throwing incident on Wentworth's 12th fairway on Thursday offered  evidence of McIlroy's frustration as he dropped four shots in five holes.

On Friday, his glum demeanor during a nightmarish eight-hole spell where he would drop nine shots  contrasted sharply with Harrington's determination that was exhibited regardless of the mortifying triple-bogey six which wrecked his tournament at hole two on Thursday, or the slapstick seven he incurred at the eighth on Friday.

However, Harrington bravely faced every challenge thrown at him.

Why? "Because every shot counts. You never know when you are going to need it," he explained.

"You never know when one shot you play or one putt will stand to you, regardless of the circumstances in which it is played.

"If you want the absolute answer, I hit two balls into the hazard on the second hole of a tournament and I managed to hit the chip shot of my life and one of the best putts of my life," Harrington added in clear reference to the 2007 British Open at Carnoustie.

Harrington still fought to the finish, despite three bogeys on the final four holes.

"You'll be surprised the circumstances in which you gain confidence from the way you played a shot," he added. "For example, I hit a great chip shot off a tight lie into the last and I'll take that confidence with me to the next chip I play."
 

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