The US Open champion’s first tournament back following his Congressional Country Club heroics ended in disappointment at Royal St George’s following a bogey-bogey finish that left McIlroy with a seven-over-par total of 287 and an admission that he would not be changing his game anytime soon in order to win a British Open.
“I’m not a fan of golf tournaments that the outcome is predicted so much by the weather,” McIlroy said, his voice almost drowned out by the rain hammering down on the roof of the interview area after posting his closing 73.
“It’s not my sort of golf. I’m disappointed with the way I finished. I’ll just have to wait until next year to try and make a good run at this tournament.”
In order to make a good run at The Open, it was put to McIlroy that he would need to learn to deal with the weather, but the 22-year-old from Holywood countered: “It’s either that or just wait for a year when the weather is nice.
“No, I mean, my game is suited for basically every golf course and most conditions. But I just don’t enjoy playing in these conditions. That’s the bottom line. I’d rather play when it’s 80 degrees and sunny and not much wind. I can (change my game). It’s just being comfortable doing that, and there’s no point in changing your game for one week a year.”
Whether McIlroy was being flippant or speaking in a moment of extreme frustration this may be a quote that could haunt him at Open time for many years in much the same way that Tiger Woods was dogged by his Ryder Cup comments about a lack of financial incentive to perform in the Europe v USA matches.
Asked if his views regarding links golf were “set in stone”, McIlroy replied: “Yeah, of course, yeah.
“All the amateur tournaments I’ve won, they were played on links courses but they were all relatively calm (weather-wise). So I just play better and my game is more suited to calm conditions. I’m glad to be in the clubhouse. I’m just glad I’m in.”
Having opened his week in level par after rounds of 71 and 69, the weekend did for McIlroy. A 74 on Saturday was followed by his closing round of three-over 73 that featured two birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey as well as an unfortunate one-stroke penalty that would have tried anyone’s patience. The penalty came at the seventh when McIlroy grounded his putter at address only for the wind to move his ball several inches.
The ball settled but the US Open champion did not, he missed the par putt and walked off the green with a wry smile and a bogey as he slipped to five over par.
“That’s The Open Championship, and that’s the way some years go,” he said. “It’s been a tough week for me. I felt like I did well the first couple of rounds, and I just struggled a bit in the bad weather at the weekend. I knew the golf course as much as I could have, and no, it was just a pity that the weather just didn’t behave itself for me.
“I knew even today anything around even par was going to be a decent score again. I bogeyed the last two holes. If I had have parred those it would have looked pretty respectable.”