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'I played crap. That was really it' - Rory McIlroy rejects Faldo criticism of Sunday slump

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Rory McIlroy. Photo: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Rory McIlroy. Photo: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports

Rory McIlroy. Photo: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

If there's a case mounting against Rory McIlroy's final-round displays, it's not one that interests the world No 1.

He had been just three shots off the pace after three days at the Charles Schwab Challenge last week but could only card a disappointing four-over-par 74 on Sunday, slipping into a tie for 32nd, nine shots behind winner Daniel Berger. It was the third time in four outings that McIlroy, when in contention, shot an over par final round.

Nick Faldo had criticised him for not having a 'Plan B' to gather together an unravelling round after a bad start soon got worse and left him six-over at the turn on Sunday.

McIlroy dismissed Faldo's quotes, made during last week's televised coverage as filling air time.

"I get the position Nick's put in with commentary where you just have to say something," he said. "I've learned very quickly out here that you don't take anything personally and you just move on."

Rather, as he prepares to continue the quest for a first victory since November at the RBC Heritage this week, McIlroy's adamant any recent Sunday woes have not formed a worrying pattern.

"I wouldn't say that Sundays this year have been disappointing," he insisted.

"(The Arnold Palmer Invitational at) Bay Hill, I would say was disappointing, and obviously last week, but that was just more annoying. I played crap. That was really it. It wasn't as if it was anything to do with the position I was in.

"I try to go out there every day and shoot the best score I can, and the best score I could shoot on Sunday was 74. Hopefully, tomorrow I go out and try my best and shoot something a bit lower than that. So, no, I'm not worried about anything."

His disappointing finish last week ended an impressive run of seven consecutive top-five finishes, dating back to August last year. It was that consistency that brought McIlroy back to the top of the world rankings for the first time since 2015.

After a pause during the sporting shutdown, those rankings are live again, despite the PGA Tour being the only one of the world's major tours back in action. That has left European Tour regulars like Matt Fitzpatrick questioning the fairness of the decision, but McIlroy has little sympathy.

"If I was asked to come over to the States and quarantine for two weeks before these tournaments, I would have done that," he said.

He tees off in today's opening round at 12.40pm (Irish time), alongside Rickie Fowler and CT Pan at Harbour Town. Graeme McDowell gets under way at 6.16pm, just behind Shane Lowry.

RBC Heritage, live, Sky Sports, 8.0pm (featured groups from 11.45am)

Irish Independent