It was a sad day for the great phenom, Rory McIlroy today at the European Masters. He started the day with a 4 shot lead – hard to believe you can lose with that – but he did.
What was his problem – too much confidence? – too much adrenalin? – too little experience? Maybe all of the above, because he certainly started off pretty poorly with 2 bogies in the first 3 holes In fact at one point he was in 4th place.
But…the 19 year old sucked it up like a real pro and headed down the 18th hole 1 shot ahead. So what happened that caused him to over-shoot the green on a pretty simple pitch and miss a makeable 5 footer?
I heard Warren and Julian say he was rushing his shots, but I’m not so sure. Rory always plays fast (which I love!) and so it looked like he was playing his normal game to me. But maybe that was his problem. With nerves and adrenlin pumping in veins, maybe he needed to change – maybe he needed to slow down. I’ve heard winning players say that before – they slow eeeevvverryrythiiiing doooownn when they get close to the end. And I’m sure with Rory’s lack of experience and youthful enthusiasm, he was probably picturing himself with the trophy before he pitched over the green. The shock on his face said it all. It was sad, but as they say, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”
His post round interview was impressive.
Obviously I am very disappointed,” he said. “I got very unlucky on the 18th in regulation, where it got a pretty big bounce for a sand wedge. I hit a good chip, but not a very good putt. Then second time around in the play-off it didn’t really matter as he holed his. That made me feel a bit better after missing that putt. I can take a lot from this week – I played very well all week and played well coming down the stretch, but unfortunately one bad shot cost me.”I came here after three missed cuts in a row and found a bit of form. It would have been nice to go home with the trophy, but I have plenty more tournaments even this year. It would be great to get a win this year, but if not I have the rest of my career. C’est la vie.”
That doesn’t sound like immaturity to me.
My golfguy reminded me this morning as we watched this painful loss, about the time when 20 year old, amateur, Jack Nicklaus took a one-shot lead with six holes to play in the 1960 US Open at Cherry Hills. Can you imagine how that younster felt then? Unfortunately Jack’s back-to-back, 3-putt bogeys on 13 and 14 resulted in a a second-place finish, two shots behind Arnold Palmer. I never got to see that tournament, but I wonder if those who did would have predicted that Nicklaus would go on to win 18 majors and come second 19 times.
Well, for the record, I predict that Rory McIlroy will win the most majors of any European player ever. And I expect him to win his first major within 2 years!
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