Rory McIlroy regrets walking off the course at the Honda Classic, and lying to all and sundry about the reason for his sudden withdrawal, initially saying his game was in a dark place. Then his management company came up with the novel idea that Rory had sudden toothache, it just had to be his wisdom tooth, such irony.
Rory McIlroy / Getty Images
The Worlds Number One ranked golfer, Rory McIlroy had to eat humble pie, with no sign of teething problems, when he fronted up to the media to announce the truth behind his Honda Classic withdrawal.
” I realized pretty quickly that it wasn’t the right thing to do,’ no matter how bad I was playing, I should have stayed out there. I should have tried to shoot the best score possible even though it probably wasn’t going to be good enough to make the cut. At that point in time, I was just all over the place, I saw red, it was a mistake and everyone makes mistakes and I’m learning from them. Some people have the pleasure of making mistakes in private, most of my mistakes are in the public eye. I actually think in the long run, Friday will be a blessing in disguise, it was like it just sort of released a valve and all that sort of pressure that I’ve been putting on myself just went away. And I was like, just go out and have fun. It’s not life or death out there. It’s only a game. I had sort of forgotten that this year. I’ve learned from it and as I said, it won’t happen again.”
A contrite Rory spoke for 25 minutes, with two of his agents from Horizon Sports, Colin Morrissey and Sean O’Flaherty in close attendance, along with Nike representatives and his coach Michael Bannon. Rory said he will have to learn to tough it out;
“I learned that when the tough gets going, I’ve got to stick in there a bit more and I’ve got to grind it out. There’s no excuse for quitting and it doesn’t set a good example for the kids watching me, trying to emulate what I do. It wasn’t good for a whole lot of reasons, for the tournaments, the people coming out watching me. I feel like I let a lot of people down and I am very sorry. Me and all you guys are hopefully going to have a working relationship for the next 20 years, so I don’t want to jeopardize that by being closed. I feel like I’ve always been open and honest and given you guys all my thoughts. I don’t want there to be friction, it’s not like I want it to be a strained relationship because it’s going to be a long one, I hope.”
Ernie Els, a four-time Major winner, who is also playing in this week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral’s Blue Monster said he regretted not stopping Rory from walking off.
“It was obviously a heat of the moment thing, he is who he is. You’ve got to respect what the individual at that moment is like, and he wanted to get off. And we obviously heard that he had his wisdom tooth was bothering him, and if that was the reason, that was that. I would have been out of my depth at that stage to say something to him if something was bothering him. So I didn’t, but I thought I should have.”
Ernie and Mark Wilson were the three-some on the ill-fated round, Ernie went on to say when he was young he had done some silly things, and his experience in the game could have helped out Rory;
“That’s why I thought I needed to say something. Listen, I was also 23; I’m 43 now. I look back, I did a lot of silly things and what he’s done is nothing compared to what I did; speak to my parents. But when it comes to being where he’s at, you’ve got to maybe think a little bit more than two minutes. In a couple of years’ time, he won’t even think about this or talk about this. If he wins this week, it will be the last thing we talk about, it will be history and that’s what it should be. It’s something that’s happened and we should move on from that. He’s a great kid, he’s a great player and if he admits he’s made a mistake, then that’s that and let’s move on.”