Rory McIlroy opened his run at the Memorial Championship by scoring a seven on the par-three 12th hole at Murfield Villiage Golf Club. His awful start to the day confirmed what some critics have been saying about McIlroy lately: he is just not ready to play when tournaments roll around.
McIlroy started on the 10th hole of the course, and after that quadruple bogey on 12, he was four over par with a long day in front of him. He managed to bounce back by posting a 32 on the front-nine and he finished the day one under par at 71, but without that horrible start he would be on top of the leaderboard.
The Northern Irishman has missed consecutive cuts entering the Memorial, after failing to reach the weekend at THE PLAYERS Championship and the BMW PGA Championship in May. Since that time he has been criticized for not practicing enough and spending too much time flying around the world to be with his girlfriend, tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.
While the 23-year-old is free to spend his time how he wants, he has to expect that kind of criticism when his game falters. At one point last year he was the No. 1 player in the world, but has since lost that ranking to Luke Donald. Currently sitting at No. 2 in the rankings, McIlroy can't miss cuts if he wants to remain that highly ranked.
McIlroy is the defending U.S. Open champion, while he also finished tied for third at the 2010 British Open and the 2010 PGA Championship. He also led entering the final day of the 2011 Masters but lost the lead down the stretch and finished 15th.
With results like that, McIlroy elevated himself to a spot among the game's best players. If he doesn't keep his focus now, he could lose his spot in that group. He rebounded well on Thursday at the Memorial, but he was dangerously close to spinning out of control again and missing his third-straight cut.