After a rough start today at the Honda Classic, Rory Mcllroy called it quits on the 18th hole (the ninth hole of his round) after hitting his 3rd ball into the water.
His withdrawal will raise more questions about Mcllroy’s recent equipment change from Titleist to Nike and his resulting poor play.
Mcllroy fans must be wondering if the $20 million dollars a year from Nike are worth his recent struggles. Mcllory has already missed a cut in Abu Dhabi and lost in the first round at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
He refuses to blame his new clubs but Nick Faldo among others has strongly questioned McIlroy’s move away from his familiar set of clubs.
The USA Today reported that the world’s number one golfer left midway through his round and headed straight for the parking lot. He was met by three reporters who reported him saying, “There’s not really say much I can say, guys,” he said. “I'm not in a good place mentally, you know?”
And when asked if anything had been bothering him, Mcllroy initially said, “No.”
Perhaps having a chance to think about what he had just done, Mcllory revised his story and tweeted, “Apologies to all at the Honda. A tough day made impossible by severe tooth pain. Was desperate to defend title but couldn't play on. Gutted"
The PGA tour released a statement from Mcllroy saying, “I sincerely apologize to The Honda Classic and PGA Tour for my sudden withdrawal. I have been suffering with a sore wisdom tooth, which is due to come out in the near future. It began bothering me again last night, so I relieved it with Advil. It was very painful again this morning, and I was simply unable to concentrate. It was really bothering me and had begun to affect my playing partners."
Being the number one golfer obviously puts a microscope on Mcllroy and leaving early at a non-major event and claiming tooth pain would not go well for anyone. On top of that, his playing partners, Ernie Els and Mark Wilson, said they didn’t notice any signs of tooth pain. Els eventually backed Mcllroy and said, "Hey, listen, if something was bothering him, you know, it was bothering him and all credit to him trying to play through whatever pain he was in.”
Still, there are more and more question marks surrounding Mcllroy as he tries to keep his title as the number one golfer in the world. As of now, Mcllroy will next appear in Doral at the WBC-Cadillac Championship.