Rory McIlroy Discusses Physical, Mental Fatigue at Northern Trust Open

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVAugust 25, 2021

OWINGS MILLS, MARYLAND - AUGUST 25: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off during the Gardner Heidrick Pro-Am ahead of the BMW Championship at Caves Valley Golf Course on August 25, 2021 in Owings Mills, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy has played a lot of golf in the past year. Around 30 events since June 2020, in fact. And he has a young child, too.

So yeah, he's a bit worn out.

"This morning, I was tired," he told reporters Wednesday. "Look, we all had a long week last week as well, but just summoning up the effort to get out of bed and get to your 7:20 pro-am tee time, it took a little more effort today than it usually does. But yeah, just everything. It's a lot of golf. It's hard to feel fresh at this time in the season, it all just sort of catches up with you."

It all appeared to bubble over for McIlroy on Monday during the final round of the Northern Trust, which had been pushed back due to rain delays, when the veteran golfer hurled one of his clubs into the trees after being displeased with a shot at the No. 9. 

Dylan Dethier @dylan_dethier

Why did Rory McIlroy spend so much time hitting 3-woods on the range yesterday?<br><br>"I threw my 3-wood onto the New Jersey Turnpike off the 9th hole on Monday, so I was without a 3-wood coming here," he said.<br><br>"If someone wants to go get a 3-wood, there's one in there somewhere."

He finished 43rd at the event and finds himself No. 28 in the FedEx Cup rankings, leaving him dangerously close to the top-30 cut-off line for the Tour Championship. 

He also dropped out of the top-15 in the world rankings, a pretty huge surprise given the trajectory of his career to this point:

Nosferatu @VC606

🚨BREAKING<a href="https://twitter.com/McIlroyRory?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@McIlroyRory</a> drops out of the top 15 in the world rankings for the first time since November 2009!!!<br><br>Take a moment and think about that... <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OWGR?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#OWGR</a>

Keeping a busy professional schedule, while also attempting to spend as much time with his family as possible, has proven challenging for McIlroy. It didn't leave him much time between the Northern Trust and this week's BMW Championship:

"It's changed a lot. I want to spend a lot more time at home. I wanted to get home even in between these two events, so I flew down from New York, Monday night, so I could get a night in my own bed Monday, spend a few hours with [my daughter] yesterday—a few hours with her and Erica—and then I flew up here yesterday afternoon. Yeah, any chance I get to go home, especially at this point in the season when we've been away so much, I'm going to take it."

McIlroy has one win this season (Wells Fargo Championship) and six top-10 finishes—including finishing seventh at this year's U.S. Open—but he's largely struggled in recent majors. He missed the cut at The Masters and finished 49th at the PGA Championship and 46th at the Open Championship. 

McIlroy has work to do to finish out the season on a strong note. Battling through the fatigue will clearly be a major factor in just how successful he manages to be.