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'Resilient' Rory applauds Bryson, taking time off

Written by 
Published in Breaking News
Monday, 17 June 2024 19:31

After suffering a gut-wrenching collapse in Sunday's final round of the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, four-time major champion Rory McIlroy said in a statement on X on Monday that he'll take a few weeks off to "process everything and build myself back up."

McIlroy was scheduled to play in this week's Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut -- the last signature event of the season. He indicated in the statement that he won't play again until next month's Genesis Scottish Open, which he won in 2023, and The Open at Royal Troon Golf Course in Scotland.

McIlroy, who was seeking to end a nearly 10-year drought without a major championship victory, had a 2-stroke lead with five holes to play in the U.S. Open on Sunday. But he carded bogeys on three of the last four holes, missing a 2-footer for par on the 16th and a putt of 3 feet, 9 inches for par on the 18th.

Bryson DeChambeau won his second U.S. Open title when he hit a pitch shot from a fairway bunker onto the 18th green and made a par putt to finish at 6 under -- 1 stroke ahead of McIlroy.

McIlroy watched DeChambeau's winning putt on TV in the scorer's area at Pinehurst No. 2. He left the course less than 10 minutes later without talking to the media.

"Firstly, I'd like to congratulate Bryson," McIlroy said in the statement. "He is a worthy champion and exactly what professional golf needs right now. I think we can all agree on that."

McIlroy said he will "rue a few things over the course of the tournament," mostly the missed putts on Nos. 16 and 18.

"But, as I always try to do, I'll look at the positives of the week that far outweigh the negatives," McIlroy said. "As I said at the start of the tournament, I feel closer to winning my next major championship than I ever have. The one word that I would describe my career as is resilient. I've shown resilience over and over again in the last 17 years and I will again."

McIlroy's last major championship victory came in August 2014 at the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. Since then, he has posted 20 top-10 finishes in majors, including nine top 5s.

It's not the first time McIlroy has taken a break after a disappointing finish. After missing the cut at the 2023 Masters, in which McIlroy failed for the ninth straight time to win a green jacket and complete the career Grand Slam, he skipped the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, the next week.

It was McIlroy's second missed signature event of the 2022-23 season, which caused him to lose $3 million of his $12 million Player Impact Program bonus from 2022.

It has been a tumultuous time for McIlroy off the course as well. On May 14, McIlroy filed for divorce from his wife, Erica, in family court in Palm Beach County, Florida. On June 11, McIlroy's attorney filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss the divorce petition. McIlroy told The Guardian of London that he had reconciled with wife.

In the wake of Sunday's finish, other PGA Tour golfers have come to McIlroy's defense. Shane Lowry, who paired with McIlroy to win the Zurich Classic team event in New Orleans earlier this season, wrote on X on Monday: "From the outside looking in... this game is easy. But in reality it's the worst game of all. We are very fortunate to get what we do from this game but over the last 24 hours it's hit me. We do it for not only ourselves but for our family, friends and fans. What Rory has gone through is as tough as it gets in our game but I would like to encourage people if anything please be kind."

In response to McIlroy's statement, Billy Horschel, who talked about his own struggles at the Memorial in 2023, called McIlroy the "Greatest player of my generation," and said more majors were in his future on his Instagram account.

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