PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – In a season which has already taken a few precarious twists and turns for Rory McIlroy, another layer was added Friday as the Honda Classic defending champion walked off the course in the middle of his second round, citing wisdom tooth pain.
“I sincerely apologize to (t)he Honda Classic and PGA Tour for my sudden withdrawal. I have been suffering with a sore wisdom tooth, which is due to come out in the near future,' McIlroy said in a statement. 'It began bothering me again last night, so I relieved it with Advil. It was very painful again this morning, and I was simply unable to concentrate. It was really bothering me and had begun to affect my playing partners. I came here with every intention of defending my Honda Classic title. Even though my results haven’t revealed it, I really felt like I was rounding a corner. This is one of my favorite tournaments of the year and I regret having to make the decision to withdraw, but it was one I had to make.”
He told three reporters as he walked to the parking lot, 'I'm not in a great place mentally. I can't really say much, guys. I'm just in a bad place mentally.'
After an opening-round even-par 70, McIlroy was 7 over through eight holes on Friday morning. He started with a par on the 10th hole, but made double-bogey on 11. He later added a triple-bogey and two more bogeys, hitting three balls into water hazards during those eight holes.
After signing what is believed to be a reported $200-250 million contract with Nike Golf in the offseason, McIlroy posted scores of 75-75 to miss the cut in his first start of the year at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. Last week, in his first U.S. start of the season, he lost in the opening round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship to Shane Lowry.
Last year at this event, McIlroy posted four rounds in the 60s to claim the top spot on the Official World Golf Ranking. He has held that position consecutively since winning last August’s PGA Championship by eight strokes.
In his last 24 stroke-play rounds on the PGA Tour, McIlroy has failed to break 70 on only five occasions.
He has committed to play next week’s WGC-CA Championship at Doral.