As most of you have seen by now, Rory McIlroy flung his 3-iron into the water hazard on the par-5 8th after his initial attempt found the drink that guards that left side of the hole. McIlroy still managed to make bogey and posted a two-under 70, putting him in a tie for 11th at the halfway mark of the Cadillac Championship.
McIlroy admitted that he let his emotions get the best of him during his round at the Trump National Doral, particularly on no. 8, but he was also able to find humor in his so-called faux pas.
“It’s just frustrating when you feel like it’s quite close and it’s just you’re hitting balls in the water and you’re doing things usually don’t do,” said McIlroy, referring to the 8th hole. It’s been funny, when I’ve been trying to hit a cut, I hit a draw; and when I try to hit a draw, I hit a cut. It’s just not quite there so just need to do a little bit of work over the weekend.
“What happened after the second shot on 8, I wouldn’t encourage anyone to do; especially if there’s kids watching at home. First of all, it’s expensive and second of all, you shouldn’t do it. But yeah, it was one of those things that heat of the moment, and you know, we’ll move on.”
McIlroy was asked how far his 3-iron went and with a wry smile, he asked, “The second shot or the throw?”
The throw, obviously.
“It must have went a good 60, 70 yards I think,” he said, laughing.
He even throws it far!
Look, no one condones club-throwing, but sometimes golf makes you do things that are out of character. Anyone who’s ever played the game (seriously) has been there and has probably committed the same so-called atrocity, but sometimes you just need an outlet to let go of the aggression and frustration and in some of those occasions, it might require letting a club fly out of your hands. Few have done so with such finesse and fine form as Rory did on Friday afternoon.
“It felt good at the time,” he said. “Yeah, I mean, look, I just let frustration get the better of me.”
If you can’t relate to that, then you can’t call yourself a golfer.
There was a split second right before McIlroy took the club back and released it that he thought about the consequences.
“It was heat of the moment, and I mean, if it had of been any other club I probably wouldn’t have but I didn’t need a 3-iron for the rest of the round so I thought, why not,” said McIlroy, laughing a bit like a schoolboy who had been called into the principal’s office.
McIlroy doesn’t usually play with a 3-iron — the longest iron in his bag is usually a 4-iron and then he carries a 5-wood. He expects to have 14 clubs in his bag in time for the third round, though.
“I think there is a 3-iron on the way,” he said. “Either (my manager) Sean (O’Flaherty) called the SCUBA diving team, or Nike, one or the other.
“There is one there if I need it. But yeah, as I said, if it probably was any other club, I wouldn’t have done it.”
Exactly. Who needs a 3-iron, anyway?
While the PGA Tour does not disclose disciplinary actions, McIlroy will likely be fined for “conduct unbecoming of a professional.”
For a moment, Rory was concerned with how his dad, Gerry, would react.
“I was walking with (my caddie) JP on 10 or 11, and I saw my dad sort of up there outside the ropes,” McIlroy recounted. “And I said to him, ‘I wonder what my dad’s going to say after that.’
“But no, he’ll be fine. He realizes it is what it is, and sometimes it happens and just move on and try not do it again.”
McIlroy said he had never thrown a club like that before in his life. He’s hit his bag with a club, but he’d never gone that deep with one. Well, he certainly nailed it! 10 out of 10 for form and style points!
In my experience, it’s better at times to let the anger out instead of stewing over it for the next few holes. (In fact, for that very reason, I actually wish I had the gumption to throw clubs in my junior/college golf days.) Apparently, it worked for Rory.
“Looking back at it, it isn’t one of my proudest moments,” he said. “But you know, walked away with a bogey and regrouped and did okay from then.”
After that hole, McIlroy posted a two-under on the back nine, which included three birdies.
“When you’re struggling and it’s just you need something to just give you a spark or give you – and I’m not saying that was it, but could have been,” he said. “But I played a little better on the back nine. I’m still just not as comfortable with my game as I’d like.
“I’ve got two more days to try and find something out there and shoot a couple of decent numbers and see where that leaves me at the end of the week.”
Henrik Stenson, who was paired with McIlroy for the first two rounds, has had his share of tossing and/or breaking clubs. So, naturally, he was the first to approach Rory.
“He said, ‘Well, if you can’t get on SportsCenter with your play, at least you can do it with something else,” recalled McIlroy.
Added Stenson, who is four-under for the week: “You know, it’s hot out there. We are sweating a lot. Obviously that practice swing didn’t work out and it just kind of ended up in the water. Yeah it’s a big issue that we don’t have enough baby powder out there.”
Meanwhile, despite hitting four balls in the water in the second round, J.B. Holmes still managed to post a one-over 73, putting him at nine-under for the tournament with a two-shot lead headed into the weekend.