McIlroy sorry for Honda walk-off

Tuesday, 5 March 2013
Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy

World number one Rory McIlroy has expressed regret for quitting the Honda Classic prematurely last week.

The two-time major winner's torrid start to the season was compounded by a forgettable week in Florida, which culminated in McIlroy quitting his title defence midway through the second round.

Having shot seven-over par through eight holes on Friday, McIlory saw his approach on the par-five 18th find water, prompting the Northern Irishman to pull out of the tournament.

After initially denying injury was to blame, McIlroy cited pain from a wisdom tooth as the cause for his withdrawal.

His dentist has since explained the condition to the PGA Tour, whose rules stipulate that a player must have compelling evidence to justify withdrawing during a round.

But McIlory says that, despite his physical ailment, he should have completed his round.

"It was a reactive decision," McIlroy told Sports Illustrated.

"What I should have done is take my drop, chip it on, try to make a five and play my hardest on the back nine, even if I shot 85.

"What I did was not good for the tournament, not good for the kids and the fans who were out there watching me - it was not the right thing to do."

As well as the ignominious exit, McIlroy's forgettable start to the season has also entailed a missed cut in Abu Dhabi and a first-round defeat at the WGC Match Play event in Arizona.

The dramatic loss of form from last year, during which he topped the PGA Tour and European Tour money lists, has led many to blame a change of clubs after the 23-year-old signed a lucrative deal with leading sportswear company Nike.

While conceding he needed to familiarise himself with his new tools, McIlory insists the root of his form slump rests on swing issues and not equipment.

"The driver and the ball took some time to get used to, but I had weeks at Nike before the start of the year, and I feel comfortable with all the equipment," he said.

"The problem is, I'm bringing the club too upright on the backswing then dropping it in too much on the downswing."

McIlroy will contest the WGC Cadillac Championship in Miami staring Thursday.


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