McIlroy On What Happened After His Open Heartache

This week we saw and heard from Rory McIlroy for the first time since Cam Smith got the better of him at the 150th Open. For much of the wekend McIlroy looked like finally moving from four to five majors but, in the end, a red-hot putter and mind got the Aussie over the line.

McIlroy would hit every green in regulation, shoot 70 and finish up in third spot. We rarely get pretty much everyone on the property cheering for the same player and it would have been something else but we didn't get the fairytale ending that most of us wanted.

“That [Sunday] night was tough; the few days after it were OK, I guess,” McIlroy said at the FedEx St. Jude Championship. It probably took me three or four days to sort of get back to myself again. I didn’t lose it. I think that’s what made it a little easier to get over. It’s not as if I went out there and shot 75. I went and played a solid round of golf, didn’t get as much out of it as I was hoping for, but I think because of how I played, it made it, I guess, a little easier to get over.”

He stayed on in London for a further two weeks, holidaying in the capital, not hitting the gym or a golf ball and giving himself some much-needed time out. He would end the major year a full eight shots better than anyone else who played all 16 rounds.

“It was nice to take that little break. I felt like I needed it. I feel refreshed and ready to go for the playoffs.”

While reflecting on his close call at St. Andrews, McIlroy said that he was comforted by the fact that he didn’t blow it with a poor final round. He shot 18 under par across four rounds, but he just didn’t play as well as he would have liked on the last day, his only birdies coming on two-putts and failing to get up-and-down in crucial spots. That allowed Smith to overcome a four-shot deficit and card a back-nine 30 to earn his first major title.

As for the future that looks much healthier than it might have done going into the four big ones in 2022.

“If I keep playing like that in majors, the law of averages suggests that I’m going to get myself back in the winner’s circle eventually. I played really solid. I shot 18 under around St. Andrews for four days, and it wasn’t quite good enough to get the job done. If I keep playing the way I’ve been playing in the bigger tournaments, the law of averages would suggest that I’m going to get myself a trophy at some point.”