A season that promised so much for Rory McIlroy has ultimately led to disappointment by his lofty standards.
After a 2016 that saw him win his home Open, and two of the final three FedEx Cup playoff events, McIlroy went win-less in 2017 for the first time in nine years.
The 29-year-old recovered early in 2018, winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a sensational final-round 64. Since then, he has flattered to deceive in some big events.
He was in the final pairing at the Masters alongside eventual winner Patrick Reed. A missed short putt for eagle on the second hole of the final round ultimately saw the Irishman fall away in another Grand Slam bid.
Then at the European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, he shared a joint 54 hole lead with Francesco Molinari, who went on to claim victory at Wentworth by two shots as Rory posted a Sunday 70.
He missed the cut at the U.S. Open, but followed up with some better form prior to the Open Championship, where he again finished runner up to Molinari. This was an encouraging performance, but a poor final round at the WGC Bridgestone having made the final group once again preceded a 50th place finish at the PGA Championship.
That bad end to the major season understandably grated with McIlroy, who had this to say upon its conclusion:
“I need to assess where I’m at. I think the best thing for me to do right now is just sort of take a couple days off, reflect on what I need to do going forward. The best thing might be to take that first FedExCup week off and work on my game and come back, hopefully, in a better place for Boston.”
That has come to pass, as it’s been confirmed that McIlroy is not in the field for this week’s Northern Trust in New Jersey – the first of the four FedEx Cup playoffs.
“Historically, the first FedEx playoff event hasn’t been my best event of the four. I’ve played well in Boston. I’ve played pretty well in the other two.”
At 21st in the FedEx Cup standings, McIlroy can afford to skip this week and still remain in the top 100 despite the field being cut down from 125 after this event.