Rory McIlroy conceded that withdrawing from last week’s Honda Classic was “not the right thing to do” and that he likely won’t have his bothersome wisdom tooth extracted until after the U.S. Open, the world No. 1 told Sports Illustrated in an interview Sunday night.
“It was a reactive decision,” McIlroy told SI of his decision to withdraw Friday at PGA National. “What I should have done is take my drop, chip it on, try to make a 5 and play my hardest on the back nine, even if I shot 85. What I did was not good for the tournament, not good for the kids and the fans who were out there watching me – it was not the right thing to do.”
On Friday, after shooting an opening-round 70, McIlroy played his first eight holes in 7 over par, rinsed his second shot on the par-5 18th and walked off the course. On his way to the parking lot, he told three reporters that he was not hurt physically but instead was “not in a good place mentally.”
About an hour later, he released a statement through his management team, claiming extreme pain with his wisdom teeth that affected his concentration.
That part is true, McIlroy told SI.
According to the report, the Northern Irishman’s childhood dentist in Belfast has faxed a letter to the PGA Tour, describing McIlroy’s condition. He has been prescribed a painkiller, which will have to suffice until he meets with the dentist. That likely won’t happen until after the U.S. Open in June, according to the report, at which time the tooth could be extracted.
Of course, causing McIlroy more pain now is the way he is playing. Despite a rocky start to his Nike career, the world No. 1 downplayed the impact of switching equipment.
“The driver and the ball took some time to get used to, but I had weeks at Nike before the start of the year, and I feel comfortable with all the equipment,” McIlroy said, according to the report. “The problem is, I’m bringing the club too upright on the backswing then dropping it in too much on the downswing.”