Rory McIlroy's poor finish from last week didn't bode well for his chances to perform well at the 2016 Honda Classic at the tough venue of PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Unfortunately, the 26-year-old superstar couldn't bounce back in time to make the weekend. McIlroy followed an opening-round 72 with a second 72 on Friday to miss the cut by one stroke.
It's been an interesting several months for McIlroy going back to last year's British Open, where he was unable to defend his hardware due to a ruptured a ligament in his left ankle.
He did well under the circumstances to return for the PGA Championship and finish in 17th place but was unable to recover his "A" game in time for the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup playoffs.
Although he later won the Race to Dubai and had two top-six finishes in two starts overseas earlier this calendar year, the Northern Trust Open marked McIlroy's first stateside start of the calendar year. He's only just beginning to get back into competitive shape.
Entering the final round of last week's event only two shots off the pace, McIlroy collapsed with a four-over 75 to fall out of contention. It was going to be hard to recover from that disappointing performance under any circumstances, much less with so few recent tournaments under his belt.
McIlroy's initial ascent to world No. 1 came at the 2012 Honda Classic, which provided some hope he could be a factor this week. It just wasn't meant to be.
Much of McIlroy's game is predicated on how well he drives the ball, which leads him to generate a lot of power from the ground up. When that area of his game is on, he is almost unstoppable, because he often has short clubs for approach shots and can fire at flags.
The attack-mode mindset McIlroy often has lends to inconsistency at times, though, as does a streaky putter that's betrayed him on a few occasions to prevent even further greatness.
With all the adversity McIlroy has faced in his young career—not least of which being upstaged by Jordan Spieth and Jason Day late last season—the four-time major winner has always been inspired enough to bounce back.
McIlroy has a history of following underwhelming performances with spectacular golf and is fully capable of winning his next event—especially with a bit more time than he anticipated to rest and practice. He famously collapsed in the final round of the 2011 Masters before rebounding to win the U.S. Open two months later.
April's Masters will provide the Northern Irishman with plenty of incentive to get his game right with the chance to cap off the career Grand Slam at Augusta National. This missed cut certainly isn't an encouraging sign, however.
Adding a green jacket to the resume will cement McIlroy among the game's biggest legends of the game at such a young age. The spotlight will continue to be on him, but like the speed bumps he's has dealt with before in exemplary fashion, he figures to recover in short order.