fbpx
rory mcilroy

Was Rory McIlroy right to leave so abruptly after blowing the US Open?

Rory McIlroy buzzed off from Pinehurst without congratulating Bryson DeChambeau for winning the US Open, and NCG’s Matt Chivers doesn’t understand why…

 

In an ideal world, you accept defeat in the same way as victory.

After 12 rounds of being punched in the face and battered to the body, it is rarely the case that professional boxers don’t stand after a fight, bloodied and cut, and explain why they won or lost.

Rory McIlroy went four rounds with Bryson DeChambeau, and Pinehurst for that matter, and probably felt like he’d been in a four-corned ring and not a golf course. But we don’t know because he didn’t speak to the media after squandering another chance to win his fifth major, this time at the 124th US Open.

I saw a post on X (formerly Twitter), shortly after McIlroy missed two putts only club golfers miss to surrender the US Open trophy to Bryson DeChambeau, that said Jean van de Velde and Greg Norman ‘faced the music’ when they choked at respective points in their career (the 1999 Open and the 1996 Masters).

The public record supports this point. Both of them spoke after their heartbreaking defeats which were far more brutal than what McIlroy went through in North Carolina on Sunday evening.

Also on the record is McIlroy’s reputation for openness and vulnerability, by the way. He is often honest, to the point and transparent with what is in his head. This has never been clearer than during the last two years in his role as the PGA Tour’s public defender against the emergence of the rival LIV Golf League.

The Northern Irishman took interviews after Cameron Smith snatched The Open at St Andrews from him in 2022 when it seemed it was his destiny to win the Claret Jug at the home of golf.

But golf fans probably won’t care about McIlroy not sitting in a press conference after blowing a two-shot lead with five holes to play. Only the press cares about that. However, what everyone cares about is the respect for the champion DeChambeau, a great champion at that, which McIlroy didn’t afford him.

Last month, DeChambeau watched Xander Schauffele make the winning putt on the 18th hole at the PGA Championship on a big screen at Valhalla. Minutes later, the popular American was on the same big screen congratulating his former Ryder Cup teammate for winning his first major. DeChambeau lost by one shot.

Last night, several videos were posted online of McIlroy watching his US opponent make a remarkable par on the 72nd hole to take victory then walking out the door of whatever room he was in, devastated. It was subsequently discovered through another batch of videos that McIlroy immediately left the golf course in a courtesy car.

rory mcilroy bryson dechambeau

(All images courtesy of the USGA)

ALSO: Bryson DeChambeau wins US Open after Rory McIlroy short-putt horror show

ALSO: If Bryson DeChambeau doesn’t make you watch LIV Golf, no one will

Rory McIlroy: Bryson DeChambeau ‘surprised’ that runner-up didn’t hang around

James Corrigan of the Telegraph reports that DeChambeau was surprised that McIlroy didn’t hang around after enquiring about his whereabouts with officials. He allegedly headed for Moore County airport near Pinehurst where he boarded a private jet back to Florida where he lives.

“Rory is one of the best to ever play. Being able to fight against a great like that is pretty special. For him to miss that putt, I’d never wish it on anybody. It just happened to play out that way,” DeChambeau said.

“He’ll win multiple more major championships. There’s no doubt. I think that fire in him is going to continue to grow. I have nothing but respect for how he plays the game of golf because, to be honest, when he was climbing up the leaderboard, he was two ahead, I was like, Uh-oh, uh-oh. But luckily things went my way today.”

These actions might be understandable if it was a young, less-experienced player in major championships at the start of his career. If this was Ludvig Aberg, we could throw him a bone and say, “He is young, he will learn.”

But McIlroy is 35 years old. He has won four majors, albeit 0 in nearly 10 years, 26 PGA Tour wins and has lifted the Ryder Cup in five of his seven appearances for Team Europe. And even he, who could be the greatest player of his era, loses more than he wins despite his glittering CV.

So why was this defeat so tough that he left straight away without acknowledging the winner? The answer might be obvious because he missed two short putts on holes 16 and 18 in stunning fashion to extend his major drought towards that eerie decade mark.

I find it tough to feel intimately sorry for multi-millionaires. McIlroy and his superhuman colleagues at the top of the game have earned their way there through hard work and graft, so maybe the riches are their own making. But the point still stands and it does with Premier League footballers too. My sympathy wears thin shortly after the curtain falls.

Surely he’s been through enough disappointment to suck up another and congratulate the better player? There must have been a part of McIlroy, sat on his own jet soaring back to the sunshine of his Florida mansion, that thought, “I could’ve stuck around for a minute.” And I don’t think this defeat, as bad as it was and as unrelatable as it was, is an excuse not to show the behaviour that is ingrained in this sport we all obsess over.

Although he has gone back on the initial judgements he made of some LIV Golf players and their decisions to join the Saudi-funded circuit during the last 24 months, McIlroy has been no stranger himself to criticising the actions and thought processes of others.

This context makes his exit stage left harder to swallow and even harder for him to justify.

NOW READ: Who is Rory McIlroy’s caddie?

NOW READ: Who is Rory McIlroy’s wife?

Which Rory McIlroy missed putt did you think was most costly? Tell us on X!

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spoken to the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Henrik Stenson, to name just a few.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

Latest Posts

two holes in one in a row

US Open

Freakishly good! Pro golfer nails two holes-in-one in a row at US Senior Open!

By

Read full article about Freakishly good! Pro golfer nails two holes-in-one in a row at US Senior Open!

US Open

Bryson DeChambeau wins US Open after Rory McIlroy short-putt horror show

By

Read full article about Bryson DeChambeau wins US Open after Rory McIlroy short-putt horror show
retief goosen us open

US Open

Exclusive: How Retief rallied to beat Mickelson and the crowd at Shinnecock Hills

By

Read full article about Exclusive: How Retief rallied to beat Mickelson and the crowd at Shinnecock Hills
bryson dechambeau us open

US Open

If Bryson DeChambeau doesn’t make you watch LIV Golf, no one will

By

Read full article about If Bryson DeChambeau doesn’t make you watch LIV Golf, no one will

US Open

Oh dear! Top amateur stung with penalty during US Open third round

By

Read full article about Oh dear! Top amateur stung with penalty during US Open third round
us open greens

US Open

Exclusive: USGA director reveals rigorous processes behind the rapid Pinehurst greens

By

Read full article about Exclusive: USGA director reveals rigorous processes behind the rapid Pinehurst greens
sergio garcia us open

US Open

Could Sergio Garcia win the US Open when we least expect it?

By

Read full article about Could Sergio Garcia win the US Open when we least expect it?
US Open Round 4 tee times

US Open

2024 US Open Round 4 tee times: Sunday’s groupings

By

Read full article about 2024 US Open Round 4 tee times: Sunday’s groupings
Tiger - pic courtesy of USGA

US Open

Check out the big names to miss the US Open cut

By

Read full article about Check out the big names to miss the US Open cut