Rory McIlroy failed to repeat his 2010 heroics when he missed the cut in his defence of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow on his first US appearance since his Masters disappointment.
As Padraig Harrington’s 72 saw him slip nine shots behind leader Pat Perez on three under, McIlroy threatened to make the weekend on the number for the second year in a row but just couldn’t convert his chances on the greens.
The 22 year old Ulsterman came up three shots short after rounds of 75 and 72 and heads home to prepare for the Volvo World Match Play at Finca Cortesin and the BMW PGA at Wentworth.
Twelve months ago, McIlroy made an eagle at the 15th in second round and made the cut on the number with a six-under 66. He then shot a final-round 62, finishing with six consecutive threes to win by four strokes.
This year he was a couple of shots outside the mark with four holes to play and narrowly missed for eagle at the 15th. Needing to birdie at least one of the last three holes to have a chance, he lipped out from 48 feet at the 16th and then three putted the par-three 17th from 40 feet, leaving his birdie putt almost five feet short.
That left him requiring an eagle two at the tough 18th, but while he took dead aim at the pin he splashed down in the water guarding the left hand side of the green to finish with a bogey five.
“I know better than most people that you just have to be around on the weekend to be able to make something happen,” McIlroy said. “I was just trying to get in there, trying to get to the weekend, but unfortunately I just wasn’t able to do that.”
McIlroy hit more greens than he did on Thursday but putted similarly, taking 31 putts compared to 32 in the first round.
“I gave myself a lot of opportunities,” McIlroy said, “I just wasn’t able to take them.”
Harrington made just one bogey in his opening 69 but had three in his last eight holes to erase birdies at the second, fifth and 10th.
The Dubliner was still in fine form afterwards and again mentioned that he plans to make his annual visit Elvis Presley’s mansion at Graceland when he plays in the St Jude Classic in Memphis before the US Open
“Greatest attraction in the States,” he told CBSSports.com’s Steve Elling:
Harrington is fascinated with the place and has visited Graceland twice. He loves the mansion, even though it’s like stepping into a time carpsule with its late-1970s decor. Like in the so-called TV room, which is decorated in a garish, black-and-yellow color scheme. Don’t tell Harrington that, however.
“There’s nothing cheesy about it,” he laughed. “That’s retro, that’s all back in fashion.”
Wow, we certainly hope not, because the billiards room at Graceland has drapes on the ceiling. Harrington was blown away by the place, however.
“That man knew how to spend money like nobody else,” Harrington said. “The excesses were mind-boggling.”
False reports of the death of Seve Ballesteros, led to confusion with Justin Rose force to apologise for a premature tweet offering the family his condolences.
Elling reports again:
Several players received electronic messages from their management agencies, including several players represented by giant IMG, that informed them that the Spanish icon had passed away Friday morning and that testimonials about the Hall of Fame player were going to be collected.
Turns out, while Ballesteros was gravely ill and had taken a turn for the worse, he was still very much alive and resting at home in Spain.
“Thankfully, it’s not true,” Padraig Harrington said.
By the time a second message was sent to players, clarifyinghis status, many were on the golf course and had no idea for several hours that Ballesteros hasn’t actually passed away. Longtime European Tour caddie Fanny Sunesson was told that Ballesteros had died and broke down in tears.
English star Justin Rose was informed by a media member that the five-time major winner had died and sent out a Twitter message expressing his condolences, then had to correct the error a few minutes later when he learned otherwise.
“I only saw the first message before going out on the course,” Spain’s Sergio Garcia said. “I’m happy to hear that he is still alive, but it doesn’t look very good.”