Friday March 8, 2013
Apologetic McIlroy vows not to repeat walkout blunder
MIAMI: World No. 1 Rory McIlroy apologised on Wednesday for walking off the course in the middle of his second round at last week’s PGA Honda Classic, saying he learned from the error and will not do it again.
On the eve of playing his first round at the US$8.75mil World Golf Championships Cadillac Championship at Doral alongside World No. 2 Tiger Woods and England’s Luke Donald, McIlroy said he made a big blunder by leaving early.
“I realised pretty quickly that it wasn’t the right thing to do,” McIlroy said. “No matter how bad I was playing I should have stayed out there.”
“I wasn’t in a good place with my golf game. My head was all over the place,” said McIlroy, who blamed the walkoff later on a sore wisdom tooth that he said did hurt but was no excuse.
“It was a mistake. Everybody makes mistakes,” McIlroy said. “Most of my mistakes are in the public eye.
“I’m 23. I’m still learning. I have learned from it and it won’t happen again.”
The Northern Ireland prodigy said he felt the Honda Classic deserved a return visit.
“I owe it to the tournament to play again,” McIlroy said. “I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t play it next year.”
McIlroy said that he has received many supportive comments since the incident and hopes it will help him as he tries to return his swing to the formidable form that brought him the 2011 US Open and 2012 PGA Championship titles.
“In the long run I think Friday will be a blessing. It was like a release valve,” McIlroy said.
McIlroy also said the swing problems were his and not a result of problems with new equipment as he adjusts to switching to new sponsor Nike’s offerings this season.
“I know it’s purely the swing. The equipment is fantastic. No problem at all,” he said. “When I make a good swing it does exactly what I want.
“It doesn’t make a difference what clubs I play.”
McIlroy also dismissed the idea that his woes came because he and girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki, the former women’s tennis World No. 1 from Denmark who lost a first-round match a week ago at the Malaysian Open, were breaking up.
“Just because I have a bad day on the golf course and Caroline loses a match in Malaysia does not mean we are breaking up,” McIlroy said. “I’m looking forward to seeing her soon.”
Other speculation had McIlroy closing himself off to the media as he becomes more successful, much the way Woods guarded his privacy after a McIlroy-like openness in his younger days such as when he won his first major at the 1997 Masters.
“I don’t want to jeopardise that (relationship) by being closed,” McIlroy said. “I don’t want it to be that way, that there’s friction between me and the press. I don’t want it to be a strained because it’s going to be a long one.”
Despite having only 4 ½ competitive rounds entering this week after missing the cut at Abu Dhabi and going out in the first round of the WGC Match Play ahead of his Honda pullout, McIlroy said he is unlikely to add an event before the Masters in a month.
That means this week and Houston in three weeks are his final pre-Augusta tournaments.
“I was waiting to see how I do this week,” McIlroy said. “Right now I haven’t made a decision. The likelihood is I won’t add an event. It’s a posibility. I don’t think it’s likely.” — AFP