Another Major, another Rory McIlroy no-show. It seems like a mental block at this stage. When, after surging into contention on Friday, he compiled an appalling triple bogey on the 12th, it almost felt like McIlroy was subconsciously sabotaging his chances.
You recalled that opening round at last year's British Open when he seemed unable to handle the expectation surrounding him on home soil and took the pressure off by immediately removing himself from contention.
That was the fifth missed cut in four years at a Major. Last year, he never looked like winning one. In his two top-10 finishes he was nine shots behind Brooks Koepka at the PGA Championship and eight behind Gary Woodland at the US Open.
He's drawn a blank since the thrilling 2014 PGA victory, his second Major on the trot, which seemed to herald the Age of McIlroy.
Since then the only top-three Major finish has been a runner-up spot behind Francesco Molinari at the 2018 British Open. Compare that to Koepka (four wins, two other top-three finishes), Jordan Spieth (3 and 3), Dustin Johnson (1 and 4) or even Justin Rose (four top-three finishes).
In last night's final round Johnson, Koepka and Rose began it in the top seven. They were contenders once more, as American Collin Morikawa went on to claim his first major. McIlroy was irrelevant yet again.
You can argue that the Majors don't occupy their old unchallenged position at the pinnacle of the sport and that at the very least the Players Championship and the World Golf Championship events constitute a strong second tier.
The victories in last year's Players, PGA Tour Championship and WGC Champions event which returned him to the top of the world rankings showed McIlroy had not lost his bottle on the big day.
But Majors matter all the same and perhaps the best proof they matter to McIlroy is the way in which they have become kryptonite to the Irish superman. The longer this barren streak continues, the harder it will be to break.
This week's flop follows the underwhelming start to the season which prompted Paul McGinley to declare, "there are excuses all the time. It's not the same Rory McIlroy we saw before". Since golf returned from its Covid-enforced sabbatical, before the first Major of the year, McIlroy has finished 32nd, 41st, 11th, 32nd and 47th.
That's an extraordinarily poor run for a player of his talent and his claim that he's been adversely affected by the absence of crowds doesn't really hold water. Before last night's result is taken into account, 15 of the world's top 25 players had gained more ranking points than him this season and that didn't even include Koepka, Rose, Tommy Fleetwood and Paul Casey. They can't all be less inspired by crowds than McIlroy.
Implicit in McGinley's criticism is the idea that the player can be a bit easy on himself. But maybe we're a bit hard on him. Shane Lowry's one Major is regarded as one of the greatest Irish sporting victories of all time, Pádraig Harrington's three as evidence of one of the great Irish sporting careers. We look at McIlroy's four and ask, "Is that all?"
Have our expectations been too great? Do those claims that he might surpass Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods and that "he will win as many Majors as he wants" belong in the dustbin of history? Perhaps.
Yet when he put Open and PGA victories back to back in 2014 it seemed like McIlroy might become one of the greatest golfers the world had ever seen. Our reference point was global rather than national. Last year's series of victories suggested that vast potential might yet be fulfilled. McIlroy seemed so obviously back in his right place that few would have predicted his reign at the top would last a mere 11 weeks.
He has enjoyed a very good career so far, the total of 106 weeks he's been at No 1 has only been surpassed by Tiger Woods and Greg Norman since the rankings began in 1986. Yet it's a long way behind the 683 weeks Woods enjoyed at the helm and there was a time when the Golden Bear and the Tiger were the yardsticks for Rory.
McIlroy is still just 31. When Nicklaus was that age he had won half of his 18 Majors. Woods had won 13 of his 15 but seems an anomalous figure. Gary Player had won just four of his nine Majors and Tom Watson five of his eight by then.
So there is still time for McIlroy to enjoy one of the great careers. But that time is running out. Nicklaus won six Majors in the following four years, Player four in the next six and Watson his remaining three in the two years after he turned 31.
Should McIlroy's drought continue for much longer he will end up occupying a much less exalted place in golfing history than that which once seemed his for the taking.
There are precedents. Six of Arnold Palmer's seven Majors were won before his 33rd birthday, the last of Seve Ballesteros' five arrived a few months after his 31st.
There's also Tiger's fate to remind Rory that however talented you are it may be later than you think. Maybe McIlroy doesn't worry too much about posterity. Maybe he's right. Or maybe that's part of his Major problem.
It doesn't seem like he'll end up rubbing shoulders with Nicklaus and Woods. But you'd hope to see him get up there alongside Player and Watson.
Instead, Majors wise, he's level with Ray Floyd and Ernie Els. Rory McIlroy should be better than that. The clock is ticking.