Sunday 18 August 2019

'It is going to hurt for a little bit' - Emotional Rory McIlroy holds back tears after missing cut in Portrush

Golf - The 148th Open Championship - Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush, Northern Ireland - July 19, 2019 Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy on the 18th hole during the second round REUTERS/Paul Childs
Golf - The 148th Open Championship - Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush, Northern Ireland - July 19, 2019 Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy on the 18th hole during the second round REUTERS/Paul Childs
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Rory McIlroy had to hold back tears after his sensational second day charge to make the cut at the Open Championship came up one stroke short.

McIlroy's Open chances were all but dead after a disastrous opening round of 79 left him on +8 overall. However, he was in top form today as he carded a six-under-par round of 65, which left him on +2 for the tournament.

Unfortunately for the four-time Major champion, that was one shot off the cut-mark of +1. McIlroy carded seven birdies and one bogey, but will rue a missed birdie putt at the 17th that would have allowed him stick around for the weekend.

Speaking to Sky Sports after his round, McIlroy was visibly crushed at missing the cut for a tournament that he was the favourite to win before round one.

"Part of me is very disappointed not to be here at the weekend," he said, before stopping to gather himself.

"Part of me is emotional but I'm happy with how I played. The support I got out there was incredible, and you could see on the back nine, if I got that momentum yesterday...  I went with it today and that's what I was planning to do all week. Yesterday gave me a big mountain to climb, but I dug in, tried my best and showed really good resilience. It's going to hurt for a little bit.

"That is the good thing about golf, I have a tournament in Memphis next week so I can turn my attention to that.

"This has been a week that I've been looking forward to for a long time, I didn't play my part but everyone in Northern Ireland who came out to watch me definitely played theirs."

McIlroy once set the course record at Portrush as a 16-year-old but will look back on his opening round this week with immense regret. He got off to a nightmare start, recording a quadruple bogey at the first hole after getting into trouble off the tee. He battled back to +3 with three holes to play before a catastrophic finish, carding a double bogey at 16 and a triple bogey at the last.

McIlroy's effort today drew high praise from rival Justin Thomas, with the American tweeting:

"Even as a competitor and trying to beat the guy every week, sometimes I have to step back and realize how great Rory McIlroy is for golf. How he handles the spotlight, the highs, the lows, his social life, the fans, his golf, everything.. it’s awesome to watch," he said.

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