March 18, 2024

Rory McIlroy warned his ‘faults have been exposed’ at the Players | Golf | Sport

Rory McIlroy has been warned that his shortcomings have been ‘exposed’ during a difficult few days at the Players Championship as he fell eight behind frontrunner Xander Schauffele.

The Northern Irishman had an eventful – if frustrating – three days at TPC Sawgrass, starting promisingly with 10 birdies in round one as part of a card of 65. His showing in the second round, however, was mercurial as he hit five birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey to end one-over 73.

This stark contrast in fortunes between the two days also came as he was involved in one of the most significant sideshow moments of the tournament so far on Day One. A heated debate ensued surrounding McIlroy’s controversial drop on the seventh hole after his ball went into the water – leading to playing partners Viktor Hovland and Jordan Spieth thrashing out a discussion over where the star would play from.

On day three, he made six birdies with one bogey and a double-bogey, signing for a 69 as he goes into the final day eight shots behind Schauffele. Over those three outings, McIlroy has hit 21 birdies – signing off with three in round three – but his inconsistencies in Florida will leave him with some concerns ahead of the upcoming Masters.

Now, Paul McGinley has reflected on McIlroy’s showing over the course of the three days as he gave his verdict on the 34-year-old’s showing at TPC Sawgrass. For the Irishman, the star’s inconsistency is a cause for concern, while the controversial drop moment which sparked the heated discussions on the opening day also appeared to not leave him impressed.

Ultimately, the Dubliner could see the frustration that McIlroy is currently facing – with his form currently ravaged by unpredictability in terms of his displays at the PGA Tour’s flagship event. Giving a blunt synopsis of proceedings, McGinley admitted: “He is battling with his game and it’s not coming easy at the moment for McIlroy.

“A bit of band aid going on, trying to play with a fade that worked well for him on the first day,” he added, before giving a damning assessment, saying: “His faults were exposed the last couple of days, with water balls off the tee in particular, but he’s putting quite decently.

“He’s well capable of something but the problem is not getting to nine, it’s the quality of players ahead of him,” he said, while admitting that McIlroy is being left behind by his rivals currently.

“They’re all going to go forwards and certainly one or two are probably going to get in the 60s, so I would say his race is run.”

After sliding behind the leading pack at the Players, the former World No. 1 may now have one eye on the upcoming Masters – which begins on April 11. He is not likely to escape the glaring spotlight as he descends on Augusta either, given his outspoken criticisms of LIV Golf over recent years.

The star will face off against some of the leading lights of the Saudi Arabian circuit including Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and recent rebel Jon Rahm at the Masters. It now remains to be seen whether he can block out the noise to finally earn himself the elusive green jacket next month.


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Golf courses in England are opening on 29th March 2021

From 29 March, golfers will have the choice of playing in groups of up to four players.