"May you live in interesting times." It's been called the Chinese Curse and it might have been coined for Rory McIlroy, who appears to be incapable of going two minutes without creating a headline of some kind.
Last Wednesday, he dropped the bombshell that he'd broken off his engagement after less tan five months. On Sunday, he won on European soil for the first time and was then accused by the Caroline Wozniacki camp of breaking off the engagement in a heartless "three-minute phone call."
True or not, McIlroy wasn't prepared to talk about it. He did his talking with his clubs, walking off a knee injury before racing home in 31 blows to card a mind-blowing 63 to lead the Memorial Tournament by three shots.
Less than 24 hours later — coinciding almost exactly with Wozniacki changing her Twitter avatar for a Halloween picture of herself stirring a cauldron — he limped around the back nine at Muirfield Village in 43 shots.
That was 12 more than he'd taken on Thursday but he at least recovered on his way home and the resulting 78 relegated him to tied 24th, nine shots behind Paul Casey (66-66). He had three birdies, three bogeys and three double bogeys.
He didn't blame his knee at all but the US media had a field day, recounting the disasters that included what ESPN's Bob Harig described as "a gruesome stretch of three consecutive double-bogeys" on that back nine.
"I missed fairways; that was the big thing," McIlroy said about the difference from Thursday. "I didn't realize how thick the rough was until I got in it today. It's thick.
"I hit a decent drive on 10 [his first hole], was just in the rough, couldn't get to the green, made bogey there. And then I just kept missing fairways and making it tough for myself. And obviously that little three-hole stretch -- 13, 14, 15 -- didn't help. Take those three holes out of it, then it wouldn't actually have been that bad a day.
"These little runs I'm getting on where it gets away from me, I was able to avoid that last week. Not so much this week."
This was the fourth straight event on the PGA Tour that McIlroy had a nine-hole score of at least 40. All occurred in the second round -- at the Masters, Wells Fargo Championship and Players Championship. In each tournament, he rallied to finish among the top 10.
So what's the latest on the left knee? A slight MCL sprain is the diagnosis, explained McIlroy, who wore a knee support.
"It was a little sore this morning on the range because if I just keep hitting balls continuously and just keep torquing it, then it's going to get sore," he said. "But out on the course it was fine. Painkillers kicked in. I felt it a little bit, but it didn't really bother me too much."
McIlroy's bad run featured a double hit with a chip at the 15th that resulted in a double bogey seven. In the On the 13th he pinged the ball around in the trees.
"It's not disastrous," he said. "Even though I had such a bad day, I'm still in with a chance, depending on what the guys do this afternoon. So going into the weekend, not exactly where I want to be. But could be worse."
Golfweek's Jeff Rude also had his say on McIlroy's Friday blues under the headline: "Driving machine? McIlroy was a wreck off the tee Friday."
The knee wasn’t the problem. The driving was. Rory McIlroy missed fairway after fairway Friday. In doing so, he remarkably followed his opening 63 with a 78 and made an agronomical discovery.
“I didn’t realize how thick the rough was until I got into it today,” McIlroy said, smiling, after the Memorial Tournament second round.... for all his immense talent, McIlroy has been known to go off the rails for a couple of hours here and there. In fact, he has now shot in the 40s for nine holes in four consecutive PGA Tour starts. He had a 42 at The Players and 40s at the Wells Fargo Championship and Masters. That’s more evidence that golf is a game of streaks, good and bad. And McIlroy knows that more than most because he lives it."