Rory McIlroy apologized to the PGA Tour and this week’s sponsors after pain from a wisdom tooth forced his withdrawal midway through the second round of the Honda Classic.
McIlroy, whose abrupt departure from the tournament he won last year did not go over well on Twitter, said his situation had started having an impact on his immediate opponents, Ernie Els and Mark Wilson. He shook hands with both golfers before leaving the course.
"I sincerely apologize to The Honda Classic and PGA Tour for my sudden withdrawal," McIlroy said in a statement. "I have been suffering with a sore wisdom tooth, which is due to come out in the near future. It began bothering me again last night, so I relieved it with Advil. It was very painful again this morning, and I was simply unable to concentrate. It was really bothering me and had begun to affect my playing partners.
"I came here with every intention of defending my Honda Classic title," the two-time major champion added. "Even though the results haven't revealed it, I really felt like I was rounding a corner. This is one of my favorite tournaments of the year and I regret having to make the decision to withdraw, but it was one I had to make."
McIlroy began the event with an even-par 70 on Thursday but was 7-over when he got to the 18th (his ninth hole of the day) in the second round. His woes started on the par-4 11th, where he almost rinsed his approach, flew the green with a wedge shot, and posted a double-bogey.
Things took a really nasty turn on the par-4 16th, where he hit his tee shot into the drink, took a drop and a penalty stroke, and found the hazard again. He went on to post a triple-bogey and a bogey on the par-3 17th before reaching the 18th, a par-5, which he bogeyed the day before.
He proceeded to put his second shot in the water on 18 and called it a day.
“There’s not really say much I can say, guys,” he told GolfWeek in the parking lot, adding that it was nothing physical, but, “I’m not in a good place mentally, you know?”
McIlroy has been working on getting “unstuck” in his golf swing as he tries to get comfortable with his new Nike clubs. The world No. 1 is now 0-for-3 in 2013, having missed the cut in Abu Dhabi and losing in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship a week ago.
The Twitterati was not amused:
New clubs, rust, bad swing habits and most of all, ego, led Rory McIlroy to withdraw from Honda on Friday after eight holes.— Farrell Evans (@EvansESPN) March 1, 2013
Rory McIlroy is a quitter. He's a quitter. Bad place mentally. What? Pay me to play golf— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) March 1, 2013
As one jokester noted, at least Rory had another equipment deal to help him block out the chatter that will accompany his ongoing struggles:
Good thing Rory just signed an endorsement deal with Bose, he's really gonna need those noise canceling headphones now...— Brock Mackenzie (@BrockMackenzie) March 1, 2013
And some observers kept a sense of humor about the whole thing
Rory: "I'm just in bad place dentally'.— Andy Roberts (@AndyRobertsGolf) March 1, 2013