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Wednesday 1 October 2014

McIlroy: I will learn

Published 06/03/2013 | 18:16

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Rory McIlroy pulled out of last week's Honda Classic (AP)

Rory McIlroy believes last week's controversial withdrawal from the Honda Classic could prove a blessing in disguise as he looks to play golf with a smile on his face once more.

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McIlroy quit midway through his second round at PGA National, where he was the defending champion, initially telling reporters he was in "a bad place mentally" and then issuing a statement citing severe toothache as the reason for withdrawing.

He admits that was still "no excuse" for quitting, admitting he lost control of rational thinking after a flurry of dropped shots and concedes his tooth problem was a flimsy reason for pulling out. But he has promised to learn from his mistakes, saying: "I had a lot of time to think about it and realised pretty quickly it wasn't the right thing to do."

Speaking at a pre-tournament press conference ahead of this week's WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami, McIlroy added: "No matter how bad I was playing I should have stayed out there. At that point in time I was all over the place and saw red. It was a mistake, everyone makes mistakes. I am learning from them.

"Some people have the pleasure I guess of making mistakes in private, most of my mistakes are in the public eye. I regret what I did but it's over now and it won't happen again.

"I actually think in the long run Friday will be a blessing in disguise. It was like it just relieved a valve and all that pressure I was putting on myself just went away. It's not life or death out there, it's only a game and I had sort of forgotten that this year."

Asked which reason for withdrawing was true, McIlroy added: "Both. I wasn't in a good place. Mentally my head was all over the place but at the same time I have been struggling with my lower right wisdom tooth for over a year.

"I had braces on for six months last year to try to relieve some of the pressure on it, I am taking medication until I get home to Northern Ireland and see my dentist, who would be the only guy I trust to take it out. My tooth was bothering me, but it wasn't bothering me enough to quit.

"When the going gets tough I have to stick in there a bit more and grind it out. There is no excuse for quitting and it doesn't set a good example for the kids watching.

"I feel like I let a lot of people down and for that I am very sorry."

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