Jack Nicklaus: "When Augusta rolls around, he'll be fine"
By mustang6560 on 3/4/13
Unfortunately for Michael Thompson, his first-career victory at the Honda Classic was overshadowed by Rory McIlroy's walk-off withdrawal.

The world number one withdrew in the middle of his second round Friday. Initially, he told reporters in the parking lot of PGA National that he was "not in a good place mentally". He later released an official statement citing a "sore wisdom tooth" as the reason he withdrew.

Rory was blasted all weekend by members of the golf media like Jason Sobel for his decision to quit. Yesterday, 18-time major winner Jack Nicklaus came to Rory's rescue during his visit to the broadcast booth. He said Rory is going through a rough spell but he'll be fine by the time the first major of the year arrives next month.
"Rory is so talented," Nicklaus said during a visit to the NBC Sports booth at the Honda Classic. "He's a good kid. I think he's a little frustrated, and he's frustrated at himself right now. He's probably not playing his best, and he also has a set of golf clubs that he's having trouble getting used to, and one sort of plays off the other. He'll be fine. When Augusta rolls around, he'll be fine.

McIlroy plays out of The Bear's Club, which Nicklaus built as his home club for South Florida. The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland seeks advice from Nicklaus whenever he sees him. Nicklaus said he last spoke to McIlroy last Monday.

"He was struggling a little bit with his irons," Nicklaus said. "But he felt confident of it. I said, 'Don't worry about it. You're too good of a player. Your clubs will not make that much difference.' Maybe it's easy for me to say."
Rory plans to discuss his withdrawal in more detail tomorrow during his pre-WGC-Cadillac Championship press conference. He normally provides honest, thoughtful answers, which is refreshing. However, I hope he learned a valuable lesson — you can't be too honest with the golf media. Had he not said anything to the reporters in the parking lot about struggling mentally, then he would have avoided a lot of bad press. He's not the first player to withdraw in the middle of the round, but he's the first (I can think of) who admitted as much.

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Image via Flickr, Ed

[ comments ]
mjaber says:
He'll be fine, or he won't be. Either way, he'll never have to get a "real" job, as long as he manages his finances well. Who knows... maybe he'll be the next David Feherty.
Backquak says:
I voted that he should have finished regardless of how he felt, but after thinking more about it I wonder what his playing partner would think, cause if he was in contention and Rory's play was affecting his then it was a good thing for Rory to get out of the way, Rory may have thought it rude to continue when he knew he would not be making the cut.
Backquak says:
I say that because I had it happen to me last summer, I got drug down by the other 3 in my group, I kept it together till our 12th hole, before I started playing like them and then never recovered. shot 87 they shot 91,92, and the guy I had to ride with and listen to, shot 101. his score didn't concern me, but his attitude sure did. I should have pulled my clubs off and walked.
bkuehn1952 says:
Ernie Els, one of Rory's playing partners, did not say that Rory's situation was affecting Ernie's play. In fact, I think Ernie stated he was a bit surprised when Rory shook his hand and left the course.
mustang6560 says:
@Backquak: I agree. It is harder to play with someone who isn't playing well. Their bad attitude rubs off on everyone else in the group.
Kurt the Knife says:
funny. I've played with loud, frustrated, club throwing oafs and others who were quiet in their despair. None has ever affected how crappy I can play.
falcon50driver says:
Good playing partners can make you feel less bad about playing crappy. Same as a few Budwiesers.
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