As badly as Rory McIlroy played in the final two rounds at The Honda Classic, he had a chance to win on Sunday afternoon at The PGA National Golf Course. After hitting one of the greatest shots I’ve ever seen at the 18th hole, the 24 year-old from Hollywood, Northern Ireland missed the eagle putt only to lose in a playoff on Sunday afternoon. He has yet to log a win on the PGA Tour since the 2012 BMW Championship.
You could tell Rory had a case of the nerves on Sunday when he teed off with eventual tournament winner, Russell Henley. Everything he hit went left, but it wasn’t until the 16th hole that he would lose the lead he had since his opening -7 under par performance on Thursday.
After hitting his 6 iron too fat from a fairway bunker and finding the water, Rory took his only double bogey of the week, and fell out of the lead for the first time in the tournament.
“This doesn’t feel real,” he said.
Rory McIlroy had started the day with a two-stroke lead only to give it up with four bogeys and a double bogey in an 11-hole stretch. But he still had a chance to win after reaching the par-5 18th in two to set up a 12-foot eagle putt.
McIlroy missed, though, and joined Henley, Ryan Palmer and Russell Knox in extra holes.
With his family and girlfriend, tennis star, Caroline Wozniaki on the course it looked like Rory just wasn’t comfortable with his situation. The normally precision tee shots were finding fairway bunkers and rough on a golf course that had grown teeth for the weekend.
The huge crowds and the difficulty of the golf course gave the first tournament on the Florida Swing a major championship feel, and Rory couldn’t find the magic he had when he won both of his majors by eight strokes each. On this Sunday he just didn’t have that cockiness that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from this kid.
With all that being said, Rory hit a phenomenal shot on the 72 hole of the tournament. He was the only player left on the course that could take on the wicked pin placement on 18, and the former number one gave the fans what they came to see. It even impressed tournament host, and 18 time Major Champion, Jack Nicklaus. It had to be a great shot to get that kind of a response from Jack.
Ridiculous shot from Rory. Silly good.
— Roberto Castro (@cicioCASTRO) March 2, 2014
You can follow Les on Twitter @Spin_47 and in the Golf Community at Google+