McIlroy: Leaving course a mistake
McIlroy: Leaving course a mistake
McIlroy was 7-over for the round and headed toward another missed cut when he hit his second shot into the water on the 18th and abruptly withdrew without finishing the hole. On his way to the parking lot, he reporters that his head was not in the right place. He later issued a statement that his wisdom tooth was causing pain.
“It was a reactive decision,” McIlroy told the magazine in a telephone interview Sunday night. “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.”
The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland said his lower wisdom teeth are growing sideways and he has been prescribed a painkiller, which he did not use Friday. Even so, he said it was frustration over his swing that led to him leaving.
McIlroy switched to Nike equipment late last year after signing an endorsement contract said to be upward of $20 million a year. The world’s No. 1 player says his swing has been a bigger problem than the new clubs, and he was practicing with swing coach Michael Bannon the afternoon that he withdrew.
McIlroy said he did not read any stories about his departure over the weekend because “whatever people are saying, I probably already said to myself.”
He is playing the Cadillac Championship at Doral this week and is to speak to the media on Wednesday. McIlroy is assured of playing four rounds in this World Golf Championship (which has no cut) for the first time all year. He missed the cut in Abu Dhabi, lost in the first round of the Match Play Championship and played only 26 holes of the Honda Classic.
McIlroy, who has joined Tiger Woods in the Nike stable and has studied the 14-time major champion his whole life, said he wishes he could have been like Woods on Friday.
“He might be the best athlete ever, in terms of his ability to grind it out,” McIlroy told the magazine. “I could have a bit more of that, if I’m honest.”
What now for Saudi Arabia’s big four teams?
- Al-Hilal won their 15th top-flight title this season.
- Big summer for Saudi Arabia football with the Green Falcons at the World Cup.
Now the Saudi Professional League season is over for another year Arab News can look back at their title tilts and what the big four clubs have to do over the coming months ahead of the next season.
Coaching situation: Ramon Diaz was in charge for much of the season, but was fired in February after setbacks in the Champions League.
Assistant Juan Brown did Okay in the final stretch, but a top-class coach could get more out of this team.
Squad priorities: A reliable goalscorer to support Omar Khribin and with veteran defender Osama Hawsawi leaving for pastures new, a replacement center-back with leadership qualities. Welcoming back the major stars — Carlos Eduardo, Khribin, Nawaf Al-Abed and Salem Al -Dawsari — will be a major boost.
Aim next season: Win the AFC Champions League
Coaching situation: Sergiy Rebrov is out of contract at the end of June. His future is likely to depend on how the team fares against Al-Sadd in the second round of the AFC Champions League in May.
Squad priorities: There is not much wrong. The Jeddah giants were the highest scorers in the league last season and had the second best defense. Keeping star midfielder Leonardo fit will help as will a little cover in the center of defense. Star striker Omar Al-Somah fell out with the coach in a public way in the penultimate game of the season. It may be that one of them has to go. The Syrian has been player of the year for three years and has a longer contract than Rebrov.
Aim next season: Win the league. Maintain good performances in Asia.
Coaching situation: Krunoslav Jurcic arrived in January and the former Croatian national team boss produced an upswing in results. May just be a temporary appointment and it needs to be sorted quickly.
Squad priorities: Looks good with the Saudi Arabia national team keeper, a strong center-back pairing of Omar Hawsawi and Bruno Uvini and the full-back position seemingly sorted with the January signing of Saad Suhail. They probably need a defensive midfielder and have to keep Junior Kabananga. The DR Congo striker has shown enough in his few weeks at the club to suggest that he could be a real star next season, especially with Leonardo pulling the strings behind him.
Aim next season: A genuine title challenge and getting through the play-offs into the 2019 AFC Champions League.
Coaching situation: A bottom half finish is unacceptable for a team with Al-Itithad’s stature and history. Chilean coach Jose Luis Sierra may find that winning domestic cups is no substitute for challenging for the title.
Squad priorities: There is too much reliance on players such as Carlos Villanueva, a creative spark in the team, and Fahad Al-Ansari, the midfield engine, who are the wrong side of 30. The possible return of star winger Fahad Al-Muwallad will help, but an introduction of energy is needed.
Aim next season: Top three and, if the team wins the King’s Cup, a good showing in the 2019 AFC Champions League.