If there’s a more frustrating sport than golf, feel free to enlighten me, because I have yet to come across one. We’ve all had 'em, those days on the course when it feels like you’re allergic to fairways and three-putting on every hole. Even the world’s third-ranked golfer, Rory McIlroy, has lived that agony.
The Northern Ireland native limped into Saturday’s action at the Northern Trust in suburban Boston, barely making the cut by shooting an opening-round 69 (-2), which he followed up with an equally pedestrian 70 (-1) on Friday. The course has played easy this week—third-year pro Scottie Scheffler fired a blistering 12-under on Friday with Dustin Johnson right behind him with a second-round 60—but apparently not for McIlroy. Playing the morning slate Saturday alongside Tiger Woods (who he was also paired with at the PGA Championship in San Francisco earlier this month), McIlroy ran into trouble on the Par-5 second hole, chipping from the rough after leaving his approach some 50 feet short of the hole. Here’s what came next:
I doubt McIlroy intended to hit his chip backward into the water, but that’s exactly what he did en route to a triple-bogey. Things only got worse from there as the 31-year-old’s struggles continued on No. 6, where his wedge play let him down for the second time in four holes. This ball traveled all of 16.7 feet.
McIlroy’s chances in this tournament, the first leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs (which he won in both 2016 and 2019), were never very good. Now they’re toast. He finished the round with a three-over 74, putting him in a distant 69th place, dead-last among players who made the cut.
As someone who has weathered his fair share of golf bloopers—though admittedly not in front of a nationally-televised audience—I can certainly relate to McIlroy’s third-round disaster. At least Rory was able to finish the day on a relative high note, sinking a two-footer to birdie on 18.