Rory McIlroy explains moving on 'pretty quickly' from US Open disaster as he returns to golf


The biggest story coming out of this week’s Genesis Scottish Open is how Rory McIlroy will play after taking his hiatus from golf following a disastrous finish at the U.S. Open last month. 

McIlroy infamously missed short putts on Nos. 16 and 18 at Pinehurst No. 2, which ultimately led Bryson DeChambeau to win by one stroke after a tremendous bunker shot leading to a par to finish 6-under for the tournament. 

McIlroy, who quickly rushed out of Pinehurst, released a statement the following day saying he would be taking a break from golf until the Scottish Open. 

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Rory McIlroy in a press conference following the Pro-Am prior to the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club on July 10, 2024, in North Berwick, Scotland. (Harry How/Getty Images)

How is he feeling now? 

“I got over it pretty quickly,” he admitted during a news conference at The Renaissance Club, via ESPN. “The few days after it were pretty tough at times, but I feel like I’ve done a good job of thinking about it rationally and constructively and taking what I need from it and trying to learn from it. But, like for the most part, it was a great day. I keep saying to people, ‘It was a great day until it wasn’t.'”

McIlroy brought up the first missed putt – a 2 ½ footer on No. 16 at Pinehurst – that he said started to make him feel uncomfortable on the greens. 

RORY MCILROY BREAKS SILENCE AFTER CRUSHING LOSS AT US OPEN, STEPPING AWAY FROM GOLF TO ‘PROCESS EVERYTHING’

He had already carded a bogey on No. 15, and after hitting it too hard and watching the ball lip out, another square went on the card. 

“Like halfway down the first putt, it looked like it could be a birdie, and it ran a foot by where I thought it was going to finish,” McIlroy said about his first putt attempt on No. 16. “Then I marked it, and then Patrick was hitting his putt, and he can take his time. Obviously, greens are tough. It’s the end of a Sunday at the U.S. Open. Like you have to be really deliberate in what you’re doing.”

McIlroy said his par putt wasn’t terrible, “but I definitely felt a little bit of uneasiness before I hit it.”

Looking to at least force a playoff, McIlroy, who hasn’t won a major since 2014 despite being the No. 2-ranked golfer in the world, hit his tee shot into Pinehurst treacherous native area, but was able to hit an iron shot just short of the green before a chip left him with four feet. 

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Rory McIlroy smiles on the second hole during the Pro-Am prior to the Genesis Scottish Open on July 10, 2024. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

A par would’ve forced DeChambeau to birdie to win it outright, or the tournament would’ve gone to a playoff. This time, McIlroy said he hit it too soft. 

“I just left it on the wrong side of the hole,” McIlroy explained “I got above the hole, where the hole was cut on top of the little slope and ended up pretty dry and crusty around the hole. And the chip shot just ran out a little bit and got past the hole. I hit that putt very, very easy, and obviously just missed on the low side and it still went a good 3 or 4 feet by.”

Even the best golfers can find it hard on any given day to deliver in one aspect of their game, which McIlroy showed at Pinehurst. But, despite saying it was one of the toughest moments of his career, dealing with adversity is paramount to keep playing at the highest level. 

“I think as you achieve more in the game, you can soften the blow, if you look at everything I’ve been able to accomplish,” McIlroy said. “It’s been a while since I’ve won a major. It hurt, but I felt worse after some other losses. I felt worse after Augusta in ’11, and I felt worse after St Andrews [the 2022 Open Championship]. It was up there with the tough losses, but not the toughest.”

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy laughs in a press conference following the Pro-Am prior to the Genesis Scottish Open on July 10, 2024. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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McIlroy’s return this week comes with defending a title, as he is the reigning Genesis Scottish Open champion, beating out Robert MacIntyre by one stroke last year. 

While he does have his sights on getting back in the winner’s circle here, McIlroy will have the chance to break that major drought with the fourth and final one of the season next week: The Open Championship at Royal Troon Golf Course in Scotland. 

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