Rory McIlroy ended last year on top of the official world golf rankings. His play this year, particularly over the past five weeks, has dropped him to third behind Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler.
During his recent skid, McIlroy shot a combined five-over par, which included a missed cut at the Masters. In addition, he made his worst showing at the Wells Fargo Championship in the last ten years. To top off his struggles, McIlroy forfeited $3 million in Player Impact Program Cash.
McIlroy opened at Quail Hollow Club last week with a round of 68 and appeared to have his game back on track. However, the following three rounds were much of the same miscues as in previous weeks, including errant drives and loose iron play. It all led to a lackluster tie for 50th on a course where he’s been victorious three times.
To say that McIlroy’s play recently has been confusing is an understatement. A runner-up finish at Bay Hill and a final-four showing at the WGC-Match Play appeared to show McIlroy trending in the right direction. But sloppy iron play at both Augusta and Quail Hollow have been McIlroy’s recent downfalls. The low scores are still there, as was seen with three birdies and an eagle in the final round at Quail Hollow, but numerous bogeys derailed the round.
McIlroy skipped last month’s RBC Heritage, a designated event on the PGA Tour this season. Under the Player Impact Program, top players are allowed to miss only one designated event, and McIlroy missed two, meaning he was forced to forfeit the final 25 percent of his bonus, which amounted to a hefty $3 million. McIlroy believes the decision to forfeit the bonus is pending, but that doesn’t appear to be the case, according to PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan.
McIlroy has played in eight events this season. He won The CJ Cup in South Carolina in his opening event and has a second-place finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and a third-place finish at the WGC Match Play. He’s missed two cuts, and his other three finishes were outside the top 25. McIlroy is 14th in the FedEx Cup points and has earned over $5.3 million this season.
The recently turned 34-year-old McIlory has 23 career PGA Tour wins and 36 total professional wins. He will start the PGA Championship next week at Oak Hill, where he placed eighth the last time the tournament was held there in 2013.
McIlory is still looking for the career grand slam, with only the Masters eluding him. He’s come up empty in the quest each of the last ten years and will have to wait until next season for another shot at it.
As for the PGA Championship, McIlroy has had much more success. He finished tied for third in his first appearance in 2010 and went on to win in 2012 and 2014. McIlroy finished eighth last season and has six top ten finished in 13 starts at the PGA Championship.