Rory McIlroy screwed up.
He knew it a few minutes after he walked off the course at the Honda Classic last Friday and he knows it with even more certainty now.
Walking into an overstuffed interview room Wednesday morning at Doral, McIlroy took a subject as tender as his lower right wisdom tooth and turned it into another winning moment.
McIlroy gave a lesson in how to handle a tough moment — he was candid and unrehearsed. McIlroy can’t undo what he did last Friday but he blamed himself and explained himself.
A few highlights:
Upon reflection: “No matter how bad I was playing, I should have stayed out there.”
Was it his tooth or his game that led him to quit?: “Both. I wasn’t in a good place with my golf game…but at the same time I have been struggling with my lower right wisdom tooth for over a year. I had braces on for six months last year to try and relieve the pressure.”
What he learned about himself: “I learned that when the going gets tough, I’ve got to stick in there a bit more and I’ve got to grind it out.”
Is he fighting his new Nike equipment?: “The equipment is fantastic. I have no problems at all. When I make a good swing, the ball goes where I want it and the flight I want it, so I know it’s not that.”
Is he making a swing change?: “It’s a swing change in the terms of I am trying to change my swing but I’m trying to change it back to where it was.”
Rumors of a break-up with girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki: “I’ve read what’s been written. Just because I have a bad day on the golf course and Caroline loses a match in Malaysia, it doesn’t mean that we’re breaking up…Everything on that front is great.”