The talking heads at The Golf Channel were going absolutely bonkers over Rory McIlroy at the Tournament of Champions.
After rounds of 68-70-68, they were just about ready to declare that he was the one most likely to run down 54-hole leader Gary Woodland on the windless Plantation course on Sunday.
Seems that didn’t care that Rory was zero for five the last five times he played in the final pairing.
They were simple going nuts over the fact that Rory had a new shot in the bag — the low cut driver that sails 300 yards, and make that 300 yards accurately.
Rory told everyone early in the tournament that he developed the shot to eliminate that big right miss of his.
On Sunday, once again, Rory disappointed in a big way.
The tour’s distance leader off the tee last year managed to birdie just one par five and had just two birdies overall on a day made for scoring. Both came on the front. None on the back along with a huge wayward drive on the easy 14th that resulted in bogey and a 38 coming in. His 71 not only dropped him from second, he fell to tie for fourth at 15-under with defending champion Dustin Johnson and Marc Leishman.
“My attitude was much better today, I didn’t press at all, I was very patient, it’s just something I’m going to have to persist in, just keep putting myself in these positions and honestly, I don’t think anyone could have beaten Xander today. I would have had to have went out there and shot 9-under par at the time. So obviously I could have shot a better score, but I did what I wanted to do. I gave myself plenty of chances, I hit most of the fairways, I hit most of the greens, just couldn’t get the ball to drop,” McIlroy explained.
And once again, he pointed out the weakness in his game — he just doesn’t make the putts. Seemingly hasn’t made anything of consequence since he canned the long eagle putt on the 14th at Carnoustie last year to come close at the Open Championship.
So when will we see Rory-boy again?
“I’m going to go home and sort of reassess where I’m at. I’ll definitely play once before L.A., I’m going to play L.A., I’ll probably play once before that but I sort of haven’t made my mind up yet.”
The Genesis Open in L.A. isn’t until February 14.
The European Tour cranks up with a big HSBC event in Abu Dhabi two weeks from now followed by the Dubai Desert Classic and the new event in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi’s are handing out fat appearance fees as is the Dubai Classic.
Look for Rory to show up at one of those three.