US PGA 'one that got away' for McIlroy

By Sports Desk May 26, 2022

Rory McIlroy reflected on the US PGA Championship as "one that got away" after he failed to capitalise on a great start at Southern Hills.

McIlroy led the second major of the year after carding a five-under 65 in his first round last Thursday.

That proved to be a false dawn, as the Northern Irishman followed that up with a 71 in his second round and went in the wrong direction on moving day when he shot a 74.

McIlroy finished with a 68 to take eighth place in Tulsa, where Justin Thomas beat Will Zalatoris in a play-off to take the title.

It is eight years since McIlroy won the last of his four majors and he knows he missed a golden opportunity in Oklahoma.

"Regrets? Yeah I regret I didn't take advantage of the benign conditions on Friday afternoon," McIlroy said in a conference call to promote the new GolfNow Compete App.

"I regret the big numbers I made on the par threes on Saturday. The fact that I just needed to play the last 13 holes in one-under par to make a play-off on Sunday, and I didn't.

"So, yeah, I definitely feel like it was one that got away. But, again, I have to take the positives – and the fact that eighth place in a major is absolutely the worst I feel I could’ve finished last week."

The world number eight, runner-up in The Masters last month, is pleased with the progress he has made over the last year.

"The first two majors of last year, I missed the cut at Augusta and I finished like 50th at the PGA," he said.

"I just have to stay as patient as possible. I know that if I keep playing the golf that I'm playing the chances are going to present themselves and I'm going to give myself a few more chances this year, not just to win majors but to win golf tournaments in general."

McIlroy has not spoken to Dr Bob Rotella about his performance at the US PGA, but says his mental coach has been in touch.

"He sent me a nice text on Sunday night," he said.

"There's a lot to be positive about where my golf game is now compared to where it was last year, it's miles ahead of that. I feel like the consistency is back in my golf game that really hasn't been there.

"I feel like this year is very similar to 2019, when I had one of my best years ever and won four times, and I was PGA Tour Player of the Year."

McIlroy will play in the Memorial, the RBC Canadian Open, the Travelers and the U.S. Open. He will then miss the Irish Open and play in the JP McManus Pro-Am prior to The Open at St Andrews, which starts on July 10.

Related items

  • DeChambeau excited for more McIlroy battles following U.S. Open glory DeChambeau excited for more McIlroy battles following U.S. Open glory

    Bryson DeChambeau is looking forward to more final-round battles with Rory McIlroy following his second U.S. Open triumph at Pinehurst on Sunday. 

    DeChambeau headed into the final round in North Carolina with a three-shot lead over the field, but soon found himself two behind the Northern Irishman three holes into the back nine. 

    A birdie at the 13th regained the American's composure, with McIlroy making bogey in three of the last four holes, including an agonising miss on18 to hand DeChambeau the victory. 

    The fifth major title continues to elude McIlroy, last winning at the 2014 PGA Championship, but DeChambeau labelled the world number two as one of the best to play the game and is excited for future tussles on the golf course. 

    "Rory is one of the best to ever play," DeChambeau said. "Being able to fight against a great like that is pretty special. I'd love to have a lot more battles with him.

    "I have nothing but respect for how he plays the game of golf... to be honest, when he was climbing up the leaderboard, I was like, 'Uh-oh', but luckily things went my way today.

    "For him to miss that putt [on the 18th], I'd never wish it on anybody.

    "I'm sure it will fuel Rory's fire even more. He's a strong-minded individual. He'll win multiple more major championships, there's no doubt."

    McIlroy's missed putt at 18 opened the door for DeChambeau to capitalise, but a wayward drive left him hunched under a tree, forcing him to punch out to a greenside bunker to set up a nervy finish. 

    However, the American would produce a moment of magic to place the ball within four feet of the hole, going on to say it was the shot of his life. 

    "That bunker shot was the shot of my life," DeChambeau reflected.

    "I knew where Rory was. After my tee shot, I was up there going, 'Man, if he makes par, I don't know how I'm going to beat him'. I just really didn't know.

    "Then I heard the moans. It was like a shot of adrenaline got in me. I said, 'Okay, you can do this'. I'm so happy I got that shot up-and-down."

  • McIlroy's U.S. Open misses will haunt him for the rest of his life, says Faldo McIlroy's U.S. Open misses will haunt him for the rest of his life, says Faldo

    Rory McIlroy's shocking misses at the U.S. Open could haunt him for the rest of his career, believes six-time major champion Nick Faldo.

    McIlroy looked to be in pole position to end his 10-year major drought on the final day of play at Pinehurst on Sunday, as four birdies in a five-hole stretch gave him a two-shot lead over Bryson DeChambeau.

    However, things unravelled for the Northern Irishman in spectacular fashion, as he missed a putt from less than three yards to save par on the 15th.

    Despite following that up with a bogey on the 16th, McIlroy still shared the lead with DeChambeau as he approached the final hole.

    He then missed another four-foot putt to hand the initiative to DeChambeau, who produced a brilliant bunker shot then made no mistake for his own close-range par, clinching his second major title by a single shot.

    McIlroy left Pinehurst without speaking to the media as DeChambeau celebrated his second U.S. Open crown in the last five editions, and Faldo believes he may never fully get over his misses.

    "That's going to haunt Rory for the rest of his life, those two misses," Faldo said in his role of co-commentator for Sky Sports.

    "It was an unbelievable finish. That was a four of all fours to finish from Bryson and the celebration of all celebrations! 

    "Rory will be broken-hearted, so I feel for him. He's going to be gutted, absolutely gutted."

  • DeChambeau: U.S. Open success 'the highlight of my life' DeChambeau: U.S. Open success 'the highlight of my life'

    Bryson DeChambeau described his second U.S. Open triumph as the highlight of his life after edging out Rory McIlroy in a dramatic finish to Sunday's final round at Pinehurst.

    DeChambeau, who won the 2020 edition of the event in Mamaroneck, went into the fourth and final round with a three-shot lead over McIlroy, Patrick Cantlay and Matthieu Pavon.

    As Pavon carded a one-over 70 and Cantlay shot par on Sunday, it came down to a thrilling head-to-head battle between DeChambeau and McIlroy.

    McIlroy moved two shots clear by sinking a terrific 27-foot putt on the 13th, managing four birdies in his first 14 holes, but he inexplicably missed two putts to save par from inside four feet on the closing stretch, putting DeChambeau in pole position.

    The American looked to be in trouble when he missed the green with his second shot on the par-four last, but a stunning pitch from the sand teed him up for a four-foot putt to seal the title.

    "I felt like I was hitting the driver the way I wanted today," DeChambeau said during the trophy presentation. 

    "I just kept staying the course, focused on trying as many fairways as I could."

    Reflecting on the final hole, he said: "I got myself out of trouble really well but I can't believe that up and down, it was probably the best shot of my life.

    "I was just trying to land it pretty much where I landed it. I knew that was huge to get up and down to win this huge prestigious championship. It's the highlight of my life."

    McIlroy will now be left to rue those missed putts as he failed to end his 10-year major drought, finishing one shot behind the champion for a second straight edition of the U.S. Open.

    The open nature of the course at Pinehurst No. 2 allowed DeChambeau a clear view of McIlroy's play down the final straight, and he says their battle made his win more enjoyable. 

    "I even saw on 10 where he made birdie," DeChambeau said. "I'm like, 'oh, man, he's gunning, he's going for it'. I had to put my foot on the pedal and push down pretty hard.

    "I could hear 'Rory, Rory' chants. That was fun because it gave me the knowledge of what I had to do. There was also a lot of, 'go USA, go Europe'. It was a fun battle between us."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.