Rory McIlroy’s troublesome swing still looked a work in progress today in the early stages of the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami.
McIlroy has dominated the golfing headlines this year, firstly for signing a multi-million pound equipment deal with Nike and then missing the cut in his first event with that equipment in Abu Dhabi.
The world number one then lost to Shane Lowry in the first round of the Accenture Match Play, before things went from bad to worse as he quit the defence of his Honda Classic title last week after completing just eight holes of his second round.
McIlroy issued a full apology for his withdrawal yesterday, admitting the pain from a wisdom tooth and being in a “bad place mentally” was no excuse for walking off the course.
The 23-year-old spent all weekend working with coach Michael Bannon to iron out a flaw in his backswing, but admitted it was not a quick fix and soon found trouble as he began his opening round on the back nine of the Blue Monster course at Doral.
McIlroy’s opening drive found a fairway bunker, his second ended in the rough and from there he could only find more sand short of the green on the 551-yard par five.
He did however splash out to two feet to save par, and also got up and down for par on the next after missing the green from the ideal spot on the right of the fairway.
Finding more sand on the 12th meant no birdie on the 603-yard par five, leaving McIlroy level par and three behind early leaders Keegan Bradley and Mike Hendry.
Playing partner Tiger Woods had birdied the 11th and 12th to reach two under, while the final member of the group, England’s Luke Donald, had found water with his opening tee shot but recovered with a birdie on the next to be level par.