Every Sunday night, the editorial staff of the SI Golf Group conducts an e-mail roundtable. Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.
RORY WALKS OFF
Jim Gorant, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: Rory McIlroy escaped the Bear Trap, walking out on the Honda less than halfway into his second round. Let's ignore our journalistic instincts and speculate wildly about what's up with RM -- pressure, clubs, love life, etc. -- and what does it all mean as we steam toward the Masters?
Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Rory's takeaway is still a bit off and he hasn't yet shaken off the rust from the off-season. So he quit after nine on Friday -- he was going to miss the cut, anyway. It's kind of bad form, especially when you're No. 1. Rory needs a few intensive days on the range to get his swing straightened out and regain some confidence. He's not a player who doesn't have ups and downs. Remember the stretch after last year's Honda when Rory got off the boil. It's still not time to panic. It's still not a big deal...yet.
Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: Plain and simple, Rory is frustrated over the adjustment to his new equipment. But remember: The switch wasn't about the money.
Ryan Reiterman, senior producer, Golf.com: Who knows if Rory really has a sore tooth, but he's definitely got some swing issues. He's admitted to picking up some bad habits earlier this year, and he's having a hard time working it out. This week he was on a very penal course, with a bad swing and no confidence. Toss in high winds, and it was the perfect storm for his embarrassing score. Will he get his swing in-sync before the Masters? That's why the next few weeks will be compelling TV.
Mike Walker, senior editor, Golf Magazine: Rory McIlroy's secret weapon is his bulletproof confidence. He's generated so much goodwill with the fans, his fellow players and the press that his petulant walk-off will be quickly forgotten, but his confidence looks shaken. Plus. if Tiger Woods is giving you media-relations advice, you're not in a good place.
Jeff Ritter, senior producer, Golf.com: If we're ranking the three most important people Rory should see this week, I'd go 1.) Dentist, 2.) Swing coach, 3.) Psychologist. Look, he'll be fine. Toothaches aren't fun, but the WD wasn't a great decision. He's a classy guy, and he'll learn from that. But there's no question this whole Nike/life adjustment is going to take some time. If I'm picking five favorites for Augusta, he wouldn't make the list.
Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: I started wondering the other day: What if Rory went back to his old clubs? What legal superstorm would ensue and how much money would it cost him? It's an interesting thought experiment if nothing else. I think the pressure got to him and this is turning out to be the most awkward adjustment period since Kardashian-Humphries.
Eamon Lynch, managing editor, Golf.com Why not just wait until Wednesday and find out for real when he talks?