Miaimi — Rory McIlroy offered another apology, a straightforward explanation and a pledge Wednesday that he will never again quit in the middle of a round.
McIlroy faced the media for the first time since he abruptly walked off the course in the second round of the Honda Classic, telling reporters that his head was not in the right place and then issuing a statement that his sore wisdom tooth made it difficult to concentrate.
Turns out the wisdom tooth wasn’t the whole truth, and the world’s No. 1 player said, “It will never happen again.”
McIlroy attributed his frustration to wanting to improve on his breakthrough season, when he won his second major at the PGA Championship, five tournaments around the world, money titles on the two biggest tours and established himself as the best player in golf.
But he dismissed suggestions that his new equipment deal added to the pressure.
The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland signed with Nike for what is said to be upward of $20 million a year. He was introduced as Nike’s latest global star with a glitzy laser show in Abu Dhabi, but his game fell apart quickly. He has missed the cut, lost in the opening round of the Match Play Championship and quit after 26 holes of the Honda Classic. That led to speculation that he can’t adjust to the new clubs.
“It doesn’t make a difference what deal or what clubs I play. That’s irrelevant,” McIlroy said. “It’s about me on the golf course, and the expectations and the pressure that I put myself under.”
McIlroy said he isn’t concerned his walking off at the Honda will cost him fans.
“Everyone makes mistakes,” he said. “I’m 23 years old. I’m still learning.”