DUBLIN, Ohio — Rory McIlroy is playing more golf than he planned going into his title defense at the U.S. Open.
Just not on the right days.
McIlroy lost his No. 1 ranking – and briefly lost his composure – by missing consecutive cuts at two big tournaments – The Players Championship and the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth – where frustrations boiled over to the point that he tossed a 6-iron after an errant shot.
If nothing else, it was a wake-up call for McIlroy.
“When you’ve went on a run when you’ve hardly finished outside the top five, and then all of a sudden two missed cuts, it’s more of a shock than anything else,” McIlroy said Wednesday.
“Just a little bit surprising, and it’s something I haven’t really had to deal with in a while, and I just have to knuckle down and figure it out and get back to the way I was at the start of the year.”
He can only hope the Memorial, which begins today, is the start of another big run.
Most of the game’s best players are at Muirfield Village, a popular spot because Jack Nicklaus is the tournament host and a good location on the schedule with the U.S. Open at The Olympic Club only two weeks away.
These days, McIlroy is getting just as much attention off the course for going to Italy after The Players Championship and to Paris for a day after missing the cut at Wentworth to see his girlfriend, tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.
“Last week I threw my 6-iron on the 12th hole, and I didn’t think it was that big of a deal,” McIlroy said. “And then I wake up the next morning and it’s all over the papers in the U.K. And I’m just like, ‘Oh, my god.’ It’s just one of those things, and it’s something I’m going to have to deal with and learn how to do.”