PORTSTEWART, Northern Ireland – Rory McIlroy’s only action over the final two rounds of this year’s $7 million Dubai Duty Free Irish Open will be to hand out the trophy he won 12 months ago at the K Club.
The World No. 4 missed the cut in the tournament he hosts through his Rory Foundation for the fourth time in the last five years. Not what he had in mind in front of his own fans.
McIlroy gave himself an uphill task just to get back into contention after an opening level par 72. He returned a second round 1-over-par 73 to miss the last two rounds with ease. He was four shots off the cut when he finished, and 14 shots off Daniel Im’s lead.
McIlroy’s chances of getting back into the tournament looked gloomy from the moment he bogeyed the 12th hole after starting on the 10th. He birdied the back-to-back par-5 13th and 14th holes, but bogeyed the 16th. A birdie on 17 seemed to give him hope but a birdie at the fourth was ruined by a dropped shot at the short par-3 6th hole.
By that time, Rory knew he was involved in a lost cause, which he proved with a double bogey at eight after a thinned chip and three putts.
“It’s the simple things I’m not doing well, and golf becomes so much easier whenever you do the simple things well,” McIlroy said. “I haven’t been as efficient with my scoring. That makes it really tough no matter who you are. You can’t keep hitting quality golf shots all the time and giving yourself chances. You have to get it up and down, you have to be able to hole putts to keep momentum going and I wasn’t able to do that over the last two days.”
McIlroy appearance in next week’s Scottish Open now becomes paramount if he is to contend in the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.
“I’ve just got to dust myself off and practice over the weekend, and do some good work between now and next Thursday and get ready for the Scottish. I’d like to get a good tournament under my belt going into Birkdale.”
The World No. 4 will also need to work on his mental game. That the tournament host was out of sorts for the last two days was clear on the seventh tee when he hooked his drive and then slammed his driver on the tee marker.
“It’s really about staying patient,” he admitted. “I don’t really feel like there’s that much wrong. It’s hard to say that because I just missed the cut and I’m 13 shots behind one of my playing partners (John Rahm), but it doesn’t feel like it’s that far away.
“I feel like I’m working on the right things and I just have to keep believing in those and stay on one path and not try to change and change ideas. You need to keep believing in what you’re doing and I feel like I am.”
We’ll find out next week in Scotland, and at Royal Birkdale.