Rory McIlroy laments ‘probably the toughest’ day of his career at Pinehurst, taking time off ahead of British Open

A day after a stunning and potentially career-defining collapse at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, Rory McIlroy has spoken.

The four-time major winner who came excruciatingly close to his fifth issued a statement on Monday addressing his collapse and congratulating winner and rival Bryson DeChambeau. It’s the first the public has heard from McIlory since Sunday’s finish that saw DeChambeau get up and down from a bunker on 18 to defeat McIlory by one stroke.

McIlroy was last seen via NBC cameras watching in anguish as DeChambeau capitalized on McIlroy’s back-nine blunders en route to victory. McIlroy then got into his his car to leave the clubhouse without addressing media.

McIlroy acknowledged on Monday what was obvious to everyone who watched a first major win since 2014 slip from his grasp. Sunday was “probably the toughest” day in his career as a professional golfer.

“Yesterday was a tough day, probably the toughest I’ve had in my nearly 17 years as a professional golfer,” McIlroy wrote.

“Firstly, I’d like to congratulate Bryson. He is a worthy champion and exactly what professional golf needs right now. I think we can all agree on that.”

Rory McIlory, seen here after missing a par putt on 18, congratulated U.S. Open winner Bryson DeChambeau and vowed resilience after a Sunday collapse at Pinehurst. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

McIlroy then lamented the two missed putts on the back nine that combined to leave him one stroke behind instead of one stroke of head of DeChambeau after 72 holes. After connecting on each of his previous 496 putts inside three feet this season, he missed short putts on 16 and 18 that added up to 6 feet, 3 inches — misses that have the potential to linger on McIlroy’s psyche for the foreseeable future.

He vowed instead to look forward — once he’s done processing Sunday.

“As I reflect on my week, I’ll rue a few things over the course of the tournament, mostly the 2 missed putts on 16 and 18 and on the final day. But, as I always try to do, I’ll look at the positives of the week that far outweigh the negatives.

“As I said at the start of the tournament, I feel closer to winning my next major championship than I ever have. The one word that I would describe my career as is resilient. I’ve shown my resilience over and over again in the last 17 years and I will again.”

McIlroy is taking some time off before switching his focus to the upcoming Scottish Open (July 11-14) and The British Open (July 17-21).

“I’m going to take a few weeks away from the game to process everything and build myself back up for my defense of the Genesis Scottish Open and The Open at Royal Troon.”

The British Open will mark McIlroy’s next and last chance in 2024 to secure a fifth major championship. He previously won the British Open at Royal Liverpool in 2014.

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