VIRGINIA WATER, England (AP) – A frustrated Rory McIlroy tossed his club to the ground in a fit of anger during his bogey-filled opening round at the BMW PGA Championship on Thursday.
Making his first appearance in Europe in seven months, the top-ranked Northern Irishman made five bogeys and a double bogey in a 2-over 74 at Wentworth.
The low point of the round came on the par-5 12th when he hurled his club in despair following a poor provisional shot, which came after he had just sent his second out of bounds on his way to a bogey 6.
“It's pretty disappointing,'' said McIlroy, whose No. 1 ranking is under threat from Luke Donald this week. “I feel like I'm playing well, I just need to go out there and shoot a score.''
He has only one top-10 finish in four tournaments.
McIlroy said his club-throwing outburst on the 12th, one of four par 5s on the course, was simply a release of frustration.
“You think about the par 5s and you should be taking advantage there,'' he said. “Standing on the first tee, 3 or 4 under is the worst you should be shooting.
The par 5s weren't the problem – he eagled No. 4 and birdied No. 17. Putting was the shortcoming, especially around the turn where he dropped four shots in five holes, culminating in the error-ridden showing on No. 12.
“I struggled with the pace of the greens,'' said McIlroy, who has had to adjust to the slowness of the putting surfaces coming from tournaments in the U.S.
He missed the cut at The Players Championship two weeks ago, the first time he failed to make the weekend in 23 tournaments.
He'd been on a consistent run, which helped him to top the rankings for the first time in March thanks to a win at the Honda Classic and then again in April. On both occasions, he replaced Donald at No. 1.