Even a person who had never watched golf before may have understood why Rory McIlroy didn’t take home the 150th British Open on Sunday. He just wasn’t able to make a putt. The four-time major champion didn’t really miss any short ones, either. And not literally, as he clearly converted a significant number of tap-ins—18, to be exact. He did nothing of any great significance.
Rory McIlroy removed his hat to greet the crowd, left it off as he shook Viktor Hovland’s hand and departed the 18th green, then kept it off as he walked over to the set of stairs that ran up and down to the area where he had to sign a scorecard that was incredibly disappointing. He continued to run his fingers through his hair as he thought about what had just happened.
This was simply a case of golf happening. Play wisely and stick to his “cocoon” was McIlroy’s strategy as he started the day with a share of the lead. He and Hovland had four shots in the competition. He wasn’t required to be a superhuman. He needed to sink a few putts, and Smith shouldn’t have shot a final-round 64 like he did in order for Rory to win.
What Happened To Rory Milroy On Sunday At The British Open Golf
During the final round’s back nine at St. Andrews, Cameron Smith displayed how to one-putt the greens, while Rory McIlroy showed how to two-putt every hole of the Old Course. Literally. Rory McIlroy hit every green in standard on Sunday, but he also two-putted every green, leaving us with this statistical anomaly. Yes, that is 18 greens and 36 putts. And just to be clear for the new golf watcher, that doesn’t happen frequently. It is basically not possible. It has actually never happened with a player who led after 54 holes going into the final round quite like this.
Again, it didn’t appear that McIlroy putted poorly. He simply failed to make any attempts, closely missing hole after hole, especially hole 13, when his 60-foot birdie attempt fell just an inch short. Although McIlroy played without a mistake in the final round, his two birdies couldn’t keep up with Smith’s 64, which featured a back-nine 30. Maybe in a different year, but not one with a 20-under score that would tie the record. As a matter of fact, McIlroy’s last two par on 18 put him in solo third place behind Cameron Young, who had just eagled the hole.
McIlroy received a lot of love from the audience all week, not just for his playing or previous accomplishments but also for the positions he has taken. He is involved in a brave but difficult battle with LIV Golf, which is supported by the Saudi Arabian government. McIlroy expressed regret for not being able to give the crowd a bit more to shout about when Smith was presented with the Claret Jug. In some other universe, McIlroy would have been a deserving winner as well. McIlroy got the closest to winning a major this week without really taking home the trophy. For that, he won’t receive an award. But the fact remains.
What Went Wrong With Rory McIlroy?
McIlroy played great on Sunday. He did, in fact. He might actually be the world’s top driver based on the way he appeared to be. He made a couple of inaccurate approach shots, but they weren’t terribly inaccurate. Afterward, he said that he had played a remarkably calm game of golf. Analyzing McIlroy’s emotional state is a popular pastime in which he always participates. However, there is virtually no proof that his Sunday difficulty was mental. When asked how much pressure he felt, he responded that it wasn’t as much as he would have previously allowed himself to feel.
He was calm and collected, but in the end, he was just another victim of Cam Smith’s brilliance, like everyone else. Smith shot a brave par at the Road Hole on the 17th after making five consecutive birdies on the back. McIlroy, who was playing one group behind, recognized he needed a birdie before the 18th hole and an eagle when he didn’t make one. To force a playoff, he had to score a 33-yard chip through the Valley of Sin.
His chip traveled 20 feet past the pin after he hit it hard. If he had needed a birdie on hole 18, he most likely would have made it and finished with a score of 69. He probably would have forced a playoff if he had hit one mid-range putt earlier in the round. The difference was so small. Though disappointing, his performance was nevertheless encouraging. McIlroy had a fantastic year at the majors, finishing eighth at the PGA, second at the Masters, tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, and third here. It was one of the best seasons he had in a very long time, he added. As Hovland put it, he’s played pretty well this year and has gotten awfully close.
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