Not my kind of golf, says weather-beaten McIlroy
SANDWICH, England |
SANDWICH, England (Reuters) - By the end of a punishing weekend, weather-beaten Rory McIlroy's heart was not really in the British Open any more with the Northern Irishman admitting it was "not his kind of golf."
The 22-year-old had begun the tournament as favourite to follow up his U.S. Open triumph with a second major in a month on the Royal St George's layout but a combination of the elements and the humpy links layout left him bamboozled.
He reached the weekend in level par but once the winds began to flatten the grass amid howl around the temporary grandstands dotting the course, his challenge faded with a soggy 74 on Saturday and then a closing 73 to leave him seven-over for the tournament.
When the wind blew his ball at the seventh as he was addressing a birdie putt, prompting a one-stroke penalty that resulted in a bogey six, he had every reason to curse the weather demons that had teased him all weekend.
"I got a bit down when my ball moved on seven today," he said. "You're looking at an eight-foot birdie putt and then all of a sudden it's for a par and then you're a bit scrambled and you miss it and end up making bogey."
Despite loyal support from the packed galleries following him around, he was already going through the motions by the time he bogeyed the 17th and 18th to complete his misery.
It was all a far cry from last month at Congressional when he was in a class of his own to win by eight strokes -- a victory most believe will be the first of many majors.
Despite growing up in windy links golf country his future British Open hopes remain under a cloud after his hopes were blown away for the second year in succession.
"I'm not a fan of golf tournaments that the outcome is predicted so much by the weather," was McIlroy's honest appraisal of his disappointing showing.
"It's not my sort of golf. Yeah, I'm disappointed with the way I finished obviously, but I'll just have to wait until next year to try and make a good run at this tournament.
"Now I'm looking forward to getting back playing in Akron, playing the PGA and getting back into some nice conditions."
That was the cue for a cloudburst to erupt over the course, making it difficult for him to make himself heard over the rain drumming on to the roof of the interview tent.
The irony, was not lost on McIlroy, who at least maintained his sense of humour.
"It's either that or just wait for a year when the weather is nice," McIlroy said when asked if he would have to change his playing style to win the British Open.
"I mean, my game is suited for basically every golf course and most conditions, but these conditions I just don't enjoy playing in really. That's the bottom line. I'd rather play when it's 80 degrees and sunny and not much wind.
"There's no point in changing your game for one week a year."
World number four McIlroy has already been made favourite for the year's fourth major, the PGA in Atlanta, and said he would be working hard to iron out any kinks in his swing after the battering he took in Sandwich.
"Hopefully if the weather is decent at home, I'm going to spend a few days getting my swing back to where it needs to be," said McIlroy.
"The wind sort of messes it up a little bit, so I'll work for two or three days just working on my swing and getting it back into a nice groove, and then I'll take it easy and head to the Irish Open next week or the week after."
(Reporting by Martyn Herman)
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