Wednesday 18 October 2017

McIlroy under pressure after missed cut in Boston

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy
Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

Rory McIlroy is running out of time to salvage an injury-disrupted, and at times controversial, 2017.

McIlroy fancied his chances of a tilt at the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston, a tournament he won last year en route to adding a dramatic Tour Championship victory and claiming the FedEx Cup title.

But a shock missed cut on Saturday - the tournament finishes today on Labour Day weekend - was the latest setback for the world No 4.

His opening 72, one-over par, included a horrible four-putt on the par-three 11th hole, and Saturday's 74 meant he missed the cut by a shot.

McIlroy and his team have a comprehensive plan for full rehab of the rib injury which has disrupted his year, and for a revitalising of his golf game.

That was due to come into effect after the FedEx Cup series finale for the top 30 in the rankings at East Lake from September 21-24.

McIlroy's problem is that he may not make it to East Lake unless he produces top form in the BMW Championship and improves from his projected 52nd place to 30th or better.

He had hoped to make a strong challenge for victory at the Dell Technologies, the BMW or the Tour Championship before taking a break, with the Dunhill Links Championship (October 5-8) his last appearance of the year.

"I haven't not won a tournament since the 2008 season, which was my real rookie season on the European Tour," he said.

"Even in 2013 when I struggled, I went down to Australia at the end of the year and I won and it made the end of the year feel pretty good.

"I'd like to have that feeling again before taking that time off at the end of this year and getting myself right for 2018."

The four-time Major champion is expected to wait until he knows his fate after the BMW Championship before making any tweaks to his plans, but he is very clear about the big picture in the coming months after the Dunhill Links.

"I'll put the clubs away for five or six weeks, have two weeks where I shut it down and do nothing after the Dunhill Links," he said.

"I'll then start to rehab, start to get my body in better shape, get everything healthy, and then start to hit balls maybe end of November, and then work on some technical stuff November, December."

That would be welcome after a season of rib problems, equipment changes forced by Nike's exit from club manufacturing, and the recent parting company with long-serving caddie JP Fitzgerald.

Meanwhile, US PGA champion Justin Thomas shot the round of the day, a superb eight-under par 63 in wet conditions, to take the joint lead in the Dell Championship on 12 under par.

Australia's Mark Leishman is alongside him after a 65 yesterday.

Elsewhere, South Africa's Haydn Porteous won the D+D Real Czech Masters with a closing 69 in Prague to finish 13-under par, two shots clear of England's Lee Slattery.

Darren Clarke and Gary Hurley failed to make the cut.

Dell Technologies Championship

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