McIlroy is not the one participant to go away St. Andrews dissatisfied

The difficulty with profitable a lot so early is that the shedding can really feel worse than it truly is.

The British Open stung Rory McIlroy, even when he stated it wasn’t life or loss of life. It may need damage much more than his 80 within the last spherical of the 2011 Masters. He was solely 21 again then, with out a main, when expertise exceeded expectations.

However then he gained a U.S. Open with a document rating at Congressional later that yr. He gained the PGA Championship the next yr at Kiawah Island. And two years later, he added his title to the claret jug at Royal Liverpool and gained one other PGA Championship simply 4 weeks aside.

4 majors in 4 years. Solely three different gamers within the earlier century had that many at age 25 or youthful — Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.

McIlroy is now 33 and nonetheless has 4 majors, to not point out some grey hair across the edges. His recognition is simply as nice now because it was then, if no more.

Disappointment? Positive.

McIlroy now has gone 30 majors since profitable his final one. Maybe extra stunning is the British Open was the primary time throughout that drought he was atop the leaderboard after 54 holes.

He did little incorrect, and even much less proper. Think about having a share of the 54-hole lead in a serious, hitting each inexperienced in regulation and nonetheless not profitable. McIlroy two-putted each inexperienced. He had two-putt birdies after reaching the par-5 fifth in two and driving the inexperienced on the par-4 tenth.

The opening actually appeared to shrink when Cameron Smith ran off 5 straight birdies to start out the again 9 and took the lead. “I needed to dig deep to make birdies and I simply could not,” McIlroy stated.

Simply do not get the thought McIlroy was the one participant who left St. Andrews — together with two different majors this yr — feeling as if he ought to have gained.

It solely felt that manner as a result of so many wished him to win.

Save a thought for Cameron Younger.

He drove into the gorse on the reachable par-4 ninth and turned a have a look at birdie right into a bogey. Younger missed a 6-foot birdie probability on the fifteenth. He wasted a giant, daring tee shot on the sixteenth when his wedge got here up quick and rolled down he ridge. His two pictures on the seventeenth have been higher than McIlroy’s, solely to go away his birdie probability quick. And needing one thing particular to have any probability, he drove the 18th inexperienced and holed a 15-foot eagle putt that was solely good for a silver medal.

He could have simply as many “what if” moments as McIlroy. And that is simply from St. Andrews. Younger, the very best PGA Tour rookie this yr, additionally made a three-putt double bogey on the sixteenth gap to complete one shot out of a playoff on the PGA Championship.

Will Zalatoris wasn’t an element at St. Andrews. He needed to accept a pair of runner-up finishes within the majors this yr.

Zalatoris three-putted from 20 ft on the sixteenth gap at Southern Hills within the PGA Championship. He wound up shedding in a playoff to Justin Thomas. After which at Brookline for the U.S. Open, he narrowly missed a 15-foot putt on the ultimate gap to pressure a playoff.

One participant stands out over the others, and it is a product of expectations. Jordan Spieth is aware of the sensation. He gained the Masters and U.S. Open, was one putt away from a playoff at St. Andrews for the third leg of the Grand Slam, and was runner-up within the PGA.

That is a once-in-a-career efficiency within the majors. Spieth was 21, in his third yr as a professional. Good luck dwelling as much as that, although it is a good drawback to have.

Does it make it worse or higher that McIlroy was the one participant to complete within the prime 10 in any respect 4 majors this yr with out profitable? The final participant to do this was Rickie Fowler in 2014, a distant reminiscence as a result of Fowler hasn’t gained a serious (and now’s on the verge of falling out of the highest 150 on the planet rating).

There’s some fact to McIlroy’s rapid evaluation Sunday night. He was beat greater than he misplaced.

Smith shot 30 on the again 9 — Jack Nicklaus (1986) and Gary Participant (1978) did that after they gained the Masters — and his 64 was the bottom closing rating by an Open champion at St. Andrews. Among the many nice closing rounds in Open historical past, it rivals the 65 by Phil Mickelson when he gained at Muirfield in 2013.

“I’ve simply bought to maintain placing myself in place, preserve placing myself in there,” McIlroy stated.

Worse than not profitable at St. Andrews was so hardly ever placing himself in that place the final eight years. Solely 3 times in his earlier 29 majors had he began the ultimate spherical nearer than 5 pictures behind.

“Everytime you put your self in that shining gentle, you’re going to must take care of setbacks and take care of failures,” he stated. “Right now is a kind of occasions. However I simply must mud myself off and are available once more and preserve working arduous and preserve believing.”

He has eight months and three weeks till the Masters, his subsequent alternative. That is the identical await Zalatoris and Younger, with two exceptions.

They aren’t Rory McIlroy. And they do not know what they’re lacking.


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