PALM BEACH GARDENS (CBSMiami/AP) – The world’s number one ranked golfer in the world walked off the course Friday morning at the Honda Classic leaving everyone wondering what had happened to the young golfing superstar.
McIlroy was playing poorly through eight holes of the second round at +8. After hitting his second shot into the water on the par 5 18th hole, he shook hands with Ernie Els and Mark Wilson and was headed to the parking lot before the duo finished the hole.
“There’s not really much I can say, guys,” McIlroy told three reporters who followed him to his car. “I’m not in a good place mentally, you know?”
He said there was nothing wrong physically. When asked about his swing, the 23-year-old from Northern Ireland replied, “Yeah, I really don’t know what’s going on.”
If his golf wasn’t shocking enough, the manner in which he left raised plenty of questions about the state of game — and his head — in the month leading to the Masters.
McIlroy, coming off a year in which he won a second major in record fashion, already set himself up for scrutiny when he left Titleist to sign an equipment deal with Nike that was said to be worth upward of $20 million a year.
Nike introduced him with blaring music and a laser show in Abu Dhabi, but it’s been all downhill from there.
McIlroy missed the cut in the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship with rounds of 75-75. He took a four-week break, and then was eliminated in the opening round of the Match Play Championship to Shane Lowry in one of the most poorly played matches of the round.
McIlroy played 36 holes with Tiger Woods at The Medalist on Sunday and said Tuesday it was no time to panic.
His management team was expected to release a statement later Friday.
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