Frustration boiled over for Rory McIlroy at the 14th tee at Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, England.
Teeing off with an iron at the par-5 hole, McIlroy tugged his tee shot towards the hay, pointed left to warn the gallery and then heaved his club with a one-handed-tomahawk toss down the fairway.
“It’s happened to us all before,” NBC’s Steve Sands said during a replay. Indeed, it has.
The Northern Irishman, who began the day at even par and 11 strokes off the lead, was mounting a bit of a Saturday morning charge, making five birdies against one bogey to tour the front nine in 31, but his rally stalled on the second nine. McIlroy missed a short par putt at 11 – “it kind of killed the momentum I had,” he said – and made another bogey at 13 to drop back to 2 under. Knowing he must play flawlessly over the weekend, McIlroy had to realize the dream of posting a low one to give himself a glimmer of hope on Sunday had been extinguished.
McIlroy settled for a par at 14, made another bogey one hole later to fall to 1 under and finished with a 69.
“It’s tough to be here and just say I’m glad to be here for the weekend, but that’s the position I find myself in,” McIlroy said on Friday. He’ll play the string out on Sunday, knowing he’ll have to wait to the Masters for his next shot at ending his winless drought at the majors.