As a follow-up to a frustrating opening round that included a 2-over 74 and an uncharacteristic angry club-tossing, world No. 1 Rory McIlroy missed his second consecutive cut as he bombed out of the BMW PGA Championship with a 7-over 79 on Friday.
McIlroy, of whom great things were expected this year after his record-breaking romp at last year's U.S. Open, would again lose his perch atop the world golf rankings should current No. 2 Luke Donald finish in the top eight of this week’s European Tour tilt. Donald will enter the weekend tied for second. More to the immediate point, McIlroy failed to make it to the weekend at The Players Championship three weeks ago as well.
It was a rapid turn of events that left the boy wonder wondering how to put this week behind him. Indeed, his head-scratching performance at England's Wentworth Club was probably not the way the reigning U.S. Open champ hoped to roll into next month’s major title defense.
"It's been a week I'd like to forget,” the 23-year-old from Northern Ireland told reporters after finishing his week at 9-over -- a whopping seven shots south of the cut line. “It's not nice to play like this and not nice two weeks in a row.”
The 79 was reminiscent of McIlroy’s final round at last year’s Masters, when he shot an 80. It was also the first time he missed back-to-back cuts since 2010, when he bowed out early of the Houston Open and the Masters.
McIlroy -- who skipped a couple of weeks after this year’s Masters, played the Wells Fargo Championship earlier this month and two days at The Players, then took another week off before his foreshortened return at Wentworth this week -- conceded that he may have let too much time pass between outings.
“I think I might have taken my eye off the ball a little bit, so I just need to go back and work hard and try to get it back to the level that it was leading into the Masters,” he said about his turn at Augusta that did not go so well. McIlroy finished in a share of 40th after final rounds of 77 and 76 in April. “I just feel like I’ve lacked competitive rounds maybe a little bit ... I don't know, maybe just not practicing as hard as I might have been.”
As for his focus during a second round when he knows he won’t be back for the weekend, McIlroy acknowledged that was pretty much non-existent.
“You don’t [keep your concentration]. Well, I don’t anyway,” he said. “I'm already thinking about next week and what I need to do to get my game ready for that, because...when I bogeyed 10,11, I knew that I would have to do something very special to make the cut.
“Thinking about it,” he added, “it's probably a good thing that I have the next two days off to practice and get my game a little sharper going into next week.”
The remedy should be simple enough, the three-time PGA Tour winner averred.
“I think it's just putting time in on the range. Just hitting a lot of balls and just sort of getting back into it,” he said. “I don't think it's something that will be hard to fix. I just need to hit a lot of balls and just get comfortable with my game again.”
Certain that he will regain his stroke and still confident in his abundant abilities, McIlroy admitted that his pride took a hit this week.
“I was really wanting to make four at the last to break 80,” he conceded. “Besides the prestige and size of it, you still want to these big events.”