British Open 2019: Brandel Chamblee rips ‘choking’ McIlroy’s first round

July 19, 2019

Rory McIlroy’s shocking start at the Open Championship — a tee shot out of bounds on the opening hole, which resulted in a quadruple bogey — was further compounded by the way he finished, carding a double bogey, par, and triple bogey on his final three holes to sign for an eight-over-par 79 and a place near the bottom of the leaderboard.

The anticipation for Rory’s performance this week has been years in the making. McIlroy was the tournament favorite heading into the first round, with 8/1 odds. His first round was disappointing not only for himself, but for his legion of fans, both in Portrush and worldwide, who were hoping to see their local hero claim a claret jug in front of a home crowd.

Many were sympathetic to Rory’s first-round woes, but Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee was not. In a post-round discussion with Frank Nobilo on Golf Channel’s “Live From,” Chamblee lit into the four-time major champion’s shortcomings.

“Has a sporting event ever had the wind knocked out of it quicker than this one today?” Chamblee asked. “This is nothing new what we saw today out of Rory McIlroy. He has had – historically – a bad run of first rounds. When someone plays poor golf in the beginning of a tournament and then great golf the rest of the way then it’s not something physical. It’s not something technical. That they’re not putting themselves in the right frame of mind to either begin a golf tournament or end a golf tournament.

“On paper coming in here, demonstrably, Rory McIlroy was the best player,” Chamblee continued. “I know what the world rankings say. But when someone consistently performs under expectations, the word is choking. We shy away from it. But now it’s five years [removed from winning a major]. And there was a reason why people shied away from picking him this week. And it was because everybody felt like the moment was going to be too big for him. You don’t like to be correct in these presumptions, but it played out exactly that way.”

You can watch a full video of Chamblee’s comments below.

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