Rory McIlroy Withdraws from the Honda Classic

Michael FitzpatrickFeatured ColumnistMarch 1, 2013

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - MARCH 01:  World number one and defending champion, Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland looks at his club on the 18th hole, his nineth during the second round of the Honda Classic on March 1, 2013 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy has withdrawn from the Honda Classic.

McIlroy was seven-over par for his round heading to the par-five 18th hole, his ninth hole of the day. He hit his first approach shot on No. 18 into the water, took a drop and then played his second approach shot short of the greenside bunkers. McIlroy then proceeded to pick up his ball and shake hands with his playing partners before hightailing it off the premises.

McIlroy briefly spoke to the media in the parking lot saying only, "I'm not in a great place mentally. I can't really say much, guys. I'm just in a bad place mentally.''

McIlroy has been facing a good bit of criticism for his decision to switch to Nike equipment after having been so successful with his Titleist equipment since turning pro.

“I knew coming into it was going to be a bit of a process, and I knew it there was going to be comments if it didn't happen for me right way,” McIlroy said matter of factly earlier in the week.

“I'm only two tournaments into the season. I've still got more than 20 to go or 20 to go. So it's not like I'm in any rush; it's not like I'm pushing for answers or I'm looking for answers. Everything's there. It's just a matter of putting it all together.”

Leading up to the start of the Honda Classic, McIlroy did not seem overly concerned with his equipment change or his poor start to the 2013 season.

Most knowledgeable golf fans were also not concerned with McIlroy’s poor start to the season as his season began in a very similar manner in 2012 and he wound up winning a major championship and was named the PGA Tour Player of the Year.

But, that was before the Northern Irishman walked off the course halfway through his second round.  

If there were a color-coded system for the level of concern surrounding McIlroy and his game, it would have just jumped from light orange to bright red.

Bobby Jones walked off the course at the 1921 Open Championship after taking four strokes to hit his ball out of a pot bunker on the 11th hole at St. Andrews. Jones would later say that this was a decision he not only regretted for the remainder of his career but also for the remainder of his life.

Most golfers who play at the game’s highest level will lose their cool at one time or another.

Perhaps this was McIlroy’s Bobby Jones moment.  

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