‘Brain Dead’ McIlroy Struggles at Muirfield

By Brian Keogh

Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following excerpt from Brian’s Irish Golf Desk is used with permission.

'Brain Dead' McIlroy Struggles at Muirfield 1
Rory McIlroy is lost in his own haze. (mirsasha)

DAZED, CONFUSED AND ALONE. A stunned Rory McIlroy staggered away from Muirfield and summed up his 79 with a brutally honest description of one of the few really destructive shots he hit all day. “Brain dead.”

Like a heavyweight fighter who hasn’t stepped into the ring for years and ends up on the end of an almighty pummeling after just a few days of sparring, McIlroy’s round was a comedy of silly mistakes, carelessness and pure, competitive rust. Not even the player himself could work out why he hit the pin seeking, suicidal shot to the 12th that led to the double bogey that killed his Open Championship dream.

Forget that his 79 wasn’t even enough to beat a retired Nick Faldo, never mind the rest of the field.

It’s a sad reflection on McIlroy’s mental state that it was almost a positive that he didn’t get beaten by the man who has spent six months telling us why his former Faldo Series protege has made just about every bad decision in the book since he drew a line under one of the greatest seasons of recent years.

It’s not that he swung the club horrendously poorly but that he didn’t appear to make even one good decision.

What was really disturbing about McIlroy’s latest “meltdown” was his lack of answers and they way he was left standing on a dais for eight minutes afterwards, swinging in the breeze, without the merciful hand of a management figure to drag him away from the cold stare of the a press corp that appeared reluctant to intrude too much on some very public grief.

“It’s just so brain dead. Seriously, I feel like I’ve been walking around out there like that for the last couple of months. I’m trying to get out of it. I just don’t quite know why.”

It’s to McIlroy’s credit that he spoke at all but given that most of his ills appear to be self-inflicted, it was probably fair that he made an appearance.

McIlroy’s second round started at 2:45 p.m. (9:45 p.m. ET). Rory is grouped with Phil Mickelson and Hideki Matsuyama.

Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.

Photo of author
Neil Sagebiel

1 thought on “‘Brain Dead’ McIlroy Struggles at Muirfield”

  1. Well, just a few short months ago I remember saying that the people who were in charge of handling Rory made a terrible mistake playing up to the hype that Rory was capable of being better than Woods…

    For chrissakes! this was still a very young gent who should not have had all those expectations put upon him, Golf should have been second to a young man with a girlfriend.

    And so now here we are.


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