Rory McIlroy, the world's top-ranked golfer who withdrew from the Honda Classic last week because of an apparent toothache, said on Wednesday that he could have played through the pain.
“But it wasn’t bothering me enough to, probably, you know, quit,” McIlroy said on Wednesday of his toothache. “It was a mistake, and everyone makes mistakes, and I’m learning from them.”
Last Friday, McIlroy walked off the golf course after playing nine holes. An hour after, he said he had to abruptly quit because of unbearable pain in his wisdom tooth.
Rory protested the red card Nani received in yesterday's Manchester United loss in the Champions League to Real Madrid. McIlroy, an avid Manchester United fan, "said he was giving himself a red card for the bruises to his reputation and the game’s honor resulting from his abrupt withdrawal."
“I learned that when the going gets tough, I’ve got to stick in there a bit more and I’ve got to grind it out," McIlrory said, echoing his remarks earlier about how he needed to have a bit more of Tiger Woods's mental toughness. “I realized pretty quickly that it wasn’t the right thing to do. No matter how bad I was playing, I should have stayed out there.”
McIlroy said he was not struggling because of his new Nike golf clubs and debunked rumors that relationship problems with his girlfriend, star women's tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, were contributing to his problems.
Rather, McIlroy said he was putting pressure on himself to live up to his record-setting Nike golf contract and acknowledged that "most of my mistakes are in the public eye" and Friday's mishaps could be a "blessing in disguise" because "it just sort of released a valve."
"All that sort of pressure that I’ve been putting on myself just went away," McIlroy said. "And I was like, just go out and have fun. It’s not life or death out there. It’s only a game. I had sort of forgotten that this year.”
After adding that there was "no excuse for quitting" and he did not "set a good example for the kids watching me," McIlroy said he is working to right his golf swing.
“You just have to get to the root of the problem,” McIlroy said. “No pun intended.”