Rory McIlroy missed the cut this weekend at the 2015 Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The world No. 1 shot over par in both of his rounds with a 73 followed by a 74.
McIlroy looked surprisingly human for a golfer who has dominated the world scene over the past year. He dropped shots in big chunks, including two double-bogeys in his first round. The 25-year-old superstar also had just one birdie to accompany five bogeys in his second round. Through his 36 holes, McIlroy was a dismal seven over par while playing through harsh wind and rain.
Yet there is no reason to worry yet about the state of his game and most pundits agree. ESPN’s Bob Harig went into great detail about why the missed cut isn’t a huge deal, and quoted McIlroy on the matter.
"I wouldn't say I was rusty, but I just was not quite on top of my game yesterday,'' McIlroy said. "And then today I felt like I was trying to get something going and couldn't. Coming off three weeks off and playing conditions like these, it sort of shows you where your game's at. Just got to regroup and put some work in and get ready for Miami next week.''
McIlroy was inconsistent and misplayed too many shots. His game was rough coming off of a three-week break. But as he said, McIlroy will simply move on to play next weekend at a World Golf Championship event at Doral in Miami, Florida.
McIlroy has historically been slightly inconsistent or at least prone to bad rounds. He famously blew the 2011 Masters after a final round 80. Missing the cut is a setback but not truly a sign of the state of McIlroy’s game. In fact he recently won against a strong field in Dubai in February on the European Tour. Tiger Woods, currently taking a break for a much more serious slump, famously commented on McIlroy’s inconsistency last year.
“Well, as you can see, the way he plays is pretty aggressively,” Woods said.
“When he gets it going, he gets it going. When it gets going bad, it gets going real bad. It’s one or the other. If you look at his results, he’s kind of that way. Very similar to what Phil [Mickelson] does. He has his hot weeks, and he has his weeks where he's off. And that’s just the nature of how he plays the game – it’s no right way or wrong way.”
In other words, McIlroy is prone to really hot runs and really cold runs. McIlroy sometimes has bad weekends. He also has stretches where he completely dominates. The fact that the world No. 1 might take some time to get his feel back shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. It would be much more of a surprise if McIlroy didn’t return to form by the first major of the year, the Masters on April 9—the last major victory he needs to complete his career grand slam.
McIlroy will continue to play in America as he builds toward Augusta and said he’s not focused on the big major yet after his missed cut. It is probably wise to simply focus on his golf game from week to week. But the grander focus for an elite player like McIlroy is always centered on the majors. Just consider what he told the Golf Channel before the Honda Classic where he missed the cut.
“I want people in 30-40-50 years time to look back on me in a way that they look back on Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player,” McIlroy said.
“I want to be remembered for what I’ve done in the game and my achievements, that’s what motivates me.”
A bad weekend at the Honda Classic doesn’t matter to McIlroy’s chase to join the greatest names in golf history. The first 2015 tournament that truly matters in the grand scheme for a player of his caliber takes place in Augusta, Georgia during the second weekend of April.