Rory McIlroy plays his second shot on the 10th hole during the second round of the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
By Brian Wacker
PALM HARBOUR, Fla. — On Wednesday, Rory McIlroy said that if the Masters were to start the following day he’d feel like he had a good chance.
Two days and one missed cut later, he admitted his game feels far from where it was at the start of the year when he finished third and second, respectively, in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
“It’s hard because when I play my weeks off or practice, it feels pretty good,” said McIlroy, who shot two-over 73 Friday to finish his week five over and two strokes outside the cut at the Valspar Championship. “When I get out on to the course it isn’t quite the same.”
In his last four starts, McIlroy has a pair of missed cuts sandwiched around a T-59 at the Honda Classic and a T-20 at the Genesis Open.
At the Valspar, poor iron play and continued struggles with the putter plagued McIlroy again. Over two days, he hit just 18 greens in regulation and lost more than four strokes to the field on the greens. He also took 32 putts on Friday, including a couple of three putts, on his way to five bogeys.
Even when things did go right for McIlroy, he stumbled. Following birdies on Nos. 11 and 14 to creep closer to the cut line, he figured he needed at least one more to make it to the weekend.
Instead, he blew an 8-iron 25 yards right of the flag on the par-3 15th, then failed to get up and down and made bogey.
“Just really need to work on a few things just sort of syncing everything up again,” McIlroy said. “I’ve shown signs of good play this year already and I just need to see a couple of good scores and I think that will maybe give me a little boost going forward.”