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It's funny how pain is a lot more painful in the midst of a terrible round of golf.
This past Friday, McIlroy was seven over through eight holes for his second round in Palm Beach, Fla., when he hit a ball into the water and walked off the course. The official reason for his departure was wisdom tooth pain.
However, his sinking play was likely causing him even more grief.
In his limited appearances this season, Rory has missed the cut at Abu Dhabi, was bounced in the first round at the Accenture and exit early from the Honda.
It has been a disastrous start for the world No. 1 as he adjusts to his Nike clubs.
To his credit, in an interview with Sports Illustrated via Bob Harig on ESPN, McIlroy admits withdrawing was a mistake, and I'm certainly willing to give the 23-year-old a pass on this one.
He has been gracious with his time in the past and hasn't been one to run from tough questions. However, I am worried about what this says about his game.
Rory is completely lost. While it is natural to attach his problem to his switch to Nike clubs, Rory isn't going to do that. Harig also passed along this quote from McIlroy:
The driver and the ball took some time to get used to, but I had weeks at Nike before the start of the year, and I feel comfortable with all the equipment. The problem is, I'm bringing the club too upright on the backswing then dropping it in too much on the downswing.
So, other then his back and downswing, his stroke is in great shape.
This is not going to be an overnight fix. Rory has some serious work to get his game right. Let's just hope he doesn't walk away from the challenge.