We’ve all been there. You’re just having one of those rounds where everything seems to be going wrong and you feel like wrapping your club around a tree, throwing it in the drink or setting it on fire. Golf clubs are expensive, so usually we just curse to ourselves and slam the club back in the bag. Once in a long while, though, frustration does get taken out on the offending golf club. Rarely do we get to see such outbursts on the PGA Tour. At the 2013 U.S. Open, Rory McIlroy treated us to just such a sight, however, when he bent the ever-loving crap of his wedge. Merion Golf Club seems to have that effect on people.
After putting two balls into the water on the par-4 11th hole, McIlroy stuck his wedge into the ground and put all of his weight on the club, bending the shaft in frustration. The destruction of the club forced him to take it out of play, leaving him only 13 clubs for the remainder of his round. He had to take the club out of play because it was damaged “outside of the normal course of play” and he would’ve been assessed a penalty had he continued to use the iron. “I think that’s what this tournament does to you. At one point or another it’s got the better of you, and it definitely did this weekend,” said McIlroy. He carded a quadruple bogey on the hole and ended the tournament in a tie for 41st place at 14 over par.
It’s clear that McIlroy has had a very disappointing year after switching to Nike golf gear in the offseason thanks to a mega-endorsement deal. It took him some time at the beginning of the year to adjust to the new equipment, and he really hasn’t been the same since. “I just hit a bad tee shot into the creek there, and then what you don’t want to do as a golfer is follow one mistake with another, and that’s what I did,” he said. “And obviously I got a bit frustrated.” It seems as if the Ulsterman has been making mistake after mistake for a good portion of the year. He is lacking the consistency that had him on top of the professional golfing world not long ago.
At this point his slump has to be more mental than physical. The golf clubs are definitely not to blame any longer. McIlroy needs to take some time and convince himself that he is an immensely talented golfer, and that fact hasn’t changed just because of a few disappointing finishes. The sooner he gets out of his own head and just gets back to playing the game that made him famous, the better off he will be.
He’ll also need to pick up a new wedge.