It's hard to say what drives competitors to do what they do. Sometimes they just psyche themselves out. Golf is a mental game. A lot happens in your head. Rory McIlroy did something unimaginable. He hit several bad shots, in fact he has been playing terrible all year, and even being the #1 golfer in the world withstanding, he has something going wrong. He simply walked off the course, taking a withdrawal.
No seriously. He hit a bad shot, turned to his caddy, made a motion of let’s go, packed it in, and walked across the practice green to his car. He literally just said. I am not doing this and took off.
He has only played four competitive rounds this year. None of them note worthy in a positive way. And then he says, "My wisdom tooth is really sore and I am not in a good place mentally." He told reporters about his severe wisdom tooth pain on the way out of the parking lot leaving the Honda Classic altogether.
Well, way to go captain obvious. Clearly you aren't in the right place mentally when you play like crap and stomp off the course taking a loss. Even if he had played the rest of the round, he wasn't going to lose to the entire field.
First off, he recently signed a HUGE endorsement deal with Nike, switching all of his gear, all 14 clubs to new tech, and adding a lot of stress to his situation. Think about it. If you have played with a set of clubs for years, then you toss all of them in the garbage, set up a whole new set, all new tech, and go out trying to play competitively. I doubt that goes well for many, even if your as talented as Rory McIlroy.
While it isn't unheard of for players to walk away from a tournament, most players would never do this without a serious injury or family emergency. Rory wasn't doing well, he was getting into his own head, and he simply said I'm done.
He has to have his reasons. But come on. Take a week off, but finish the round. Take some pain killers, a shot of Scotch, maybe Anbisol. There can't be a rule against using tooth numbing balms, can there?
It has to be said, If I'm Nike, and I just shelled out a ton of money, I don't want this being the manner in which my new star behaves. He is acting like a spoiled brat not getting his way, not a tour professional. Athletes play through pain all the time. I have had excrutiating tooth pain, I still could have played golf though.
Regardless, the field at the Honda Classic just got a bit easier for Tiger Woods, who is definitely putting better. This could be a good weekend to fix his short game and win some cash.
As far as Rory, it isn't certain he is planning to fulfill his plan to play next week or the week after.
Playing golf when you would rather lay in a ball somewhere isn't easy. But he is paid quite well to perform. Hey, I am just a fat bearded guy who loves golf. But Rory is a big deal and is paid as such. Get out there and play man! God, if Tiger had done this, hell, if any golfer had done this, they would take heat. So it isn't wrong to criticize.
This is the latest we have from Rory on his Twitter page.
"Apologies to all at the Honda. A tough day made impossible by tooth severe tooth pain. Was desperate to defend title but couldn't play on. Gutted."
So at least the guy is apologetic!
Take what you want from his actions. He better get his act together with the Masters coming just around the corner.
See Rory's official homepage for information. Also his twitter page with over 1.5 million followers.