PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- The world’s No. 1 golfer experienced first-hand just how frustrated the other 99 percent of golfers feel trying to conquer this great game.
Citing no physical ailments, he simply walked off the golf course midway through the second round of the Honda Classic at PGA National, shaking hands with fellow competitors Mark Wilson and Ernie Els and heading to the parking lot for the 10-minute drive home without ever completing his ninth hole (the 18th).
McIlroy hit two shots into the water at 16 (making triple bogey) and one more with his second shot at 18. The defending champion at the Honda, who has captured two major championships by age 23, was near tears as his caddie placed his clubs into the trunk of his blue BMW sports car and he headed out of the lot at PGA National shortly before 10 a.m.
He was 6 over for his round (and the tournament) heading down the 18th fairway, and chose not to drop a ball and hit his fourth shot.
“There’s not really say much I can say, guys,” he said to three reporters in the parking lot. “I’m not in a good place mentally, you know?”
Honda Classic executive director Ken Kennerly was trying to find McIlroy, who was already gone, and reserved comment until he could find out more about the situation.
McIlroy was asked if anything was wrong physically, and he answered, “No.” Asked about his swing getting stuck, he said, “Yeah, I really don’t know what’s going on.”
In three starts this season, he has missed the cut (Abu Dhabi), lost in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play, and withdrew at the Honda. He is scheduled to play the WGC Cadillac Championship next week at Trump Doral Resort. He made huge news in the offseason when he signed a multiyear deal with Nike estimated at $20 million annually.