Rory McIlroy once again fell short in a major championship, failing to hold onto his 54-hole lead to finish in third place at the 2022 Open Championship.
McIlroy shot a two-under 70 in a wild final round Sunday, with Cameron Smith roaring back from behind to shoot 64 and win his first major at 20 under for the tournament.
“Just disappointment I guess. I had a great opportunity to add to that major tally and I didn’t quite get it done," McIlroy said on NBC after his round. "Didn’t feel like I did many things wrong, but the putter just sort of went cold on me there pretty much throughout the round. I did what I wanted to do, I played a really controlled round of golf. I didn’t take advantage of some of the holes that I had been taking advantage of this week, and when both Camerons—but especially Cam Smith—went on that run on the back nine, I had to try and dig deep to make some birdies and I just couldn’t.
“I got beaten by the better player this week. To go out and shoot 64 to win an Open Championship is a hell of a showing. Hat’s off to Cam, he’s had an unbelievable week.”
McIlroy and Viktor Hovland came into the final round leading the field by four strokes and seemingly in position to battle it Sunday for the Claret Jug. Instead, Hovland struggled his way to a 74, and McIlroy played a middling, par-filled round of golf while the field went low.
Smith finished with six birdies over his final nine holes, including what proved to be a critical birdie on No. 18. Cameron Young holed out in two on the 18th to finish in second place at 19 under.
McIlroy has now gone a full eight calendar years without a major championship, a period that's seen him go from the heir apparent to Tiger Woods to merely one of many greats on tour. The 33-year-old's string of bad luck has included a whopping 17 finishes inside the top 10 without a major victory.
Each time McIlroy is seemingly on the precipice of finding his game and reclaiming his spot as the world's top golfer, there will be one round that undoes all of the positive momentum. Sunday's round of 70 won't go on any lowlights of McIlroy's career, but he'll no doubt view it as another missed opportunity.