Sport Golf

Sunday 18 February 2018

McIlroy admits that Honda Classic walk-off was a mistake

Cormac Byrne

Cormac Byrne

World number one Rory McIlroy has admitted to American magazine Sports Illustrated that his walk off last Friday at the Honda Classic in Florida was a mistake.

"It was a reactive decision," McIlroy told Michael Bamberger of Sports Illustrated and Golf.com in an exclusive interview. "What I should have done is take my drop, chip it on, try to make a five and play my hardest on the back nine, even if I shot 85. What I did was not good for the tournament, not good for the kids and the fans who were out there watching me — it was not the right thing to do."

The 23 year old admitted "seeing red" after dropping seven shots on his first eight holes and then finding water on his ninth.

His behaviour drew condemnation from playing partner Ernie Els and the great Jack Nicklaus and advice on PR from fellow Nike ambassador Tiger Woods.

After telling reporters that the problem was not physical as he walked off the Palm Beach course McIlroy released a statement to say that he had been suffering from a sore wisdom tooth.

According to reports, McIlroy's Belfast dentist, Mark Conroy, faxed a letter to the PGA Tour HQ on Monday detailing McIlroy’s condition with both of his wisdom teeth. McIlroy had 14 days to provide medical evidence to excuse his WD or else he could have faced a fine or even a ban.

McIlroy believes that his problems are stemming from swing problems and not issues with his new Nike equipment.

"The driver and the ball took some time to get used to, but I had weeks at Nike before the start of the year, and I feel comfortable with the equipment,” he said. “The problem is, I’m bringing the club too upright on the backswing then dropping it in too much on the downswing.” McIlroy claims not to have read or listened to any of the outcry.

“Whatever people are saying, I probably already said to myself,” he said. He also vowed to try to emulate Woods’s competitive spirit. “He might be the best athlete ever, in terms of his ability to grind it out. I could have a bit more of that, if I’m honest,” he said.

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