The eight-shot win at Congressional for his first U.S. Open title, the eight-shot win at Kiawah Island to claim the PGA and the Claret Jug win earlier this month at Hoylake; they all almost didn't happen for Rory McIlroy.
Speaking at his WGC-Bridgestone Invitational press conference on Tuesday, the three-time major winner said he almost gave up the game of golf at the age of 16 after winning one of the most prestigious amateur events in Ireland. Yes, you read that correctly, he almost gave up the game after a win.
Here is what Rory explained to the media on Tuesday at Firestone.
"Yeah, I was ready to give it up when I was 16. I remember the drive. I just won the Mullingar Scratch Cup, and I remember the drive home with my dad. It was like a three‑hour drive. And I said to him, 'I don't like this anymore.' I don't enjoy it. I just won, and I don't know, I'm not happy, I'm not excited. I went back home and didn't play golf for about three days.
McIlroy then said he quickly realized, "Actually, I really like this game. (I was) just an impulsive teenager going through hormonal issues."
Every athlete goes through something like that at some point in his or her career, especially if you are one of the elite of the elite like Rory is. No matter if you win or lose by 40 shots, traveling from tournament to tournament, week after week, can be a grind, and any 16-year-old will want that to end at some point, even if you leave with the trophy.
I think we can all say it was a good thing that McIlroy quickly realized that wasn't the best of decisions since he has gone on to great things in professional golf and is one major away from achieving the career Grand Slam at an extremely young age.
And while Augusta National and his quest for that Grand Slam will have to wait until April, McIlroy sits as the favorite this week at Firestone at 7-to-1 and the favorite next week at the final major championship of the year as Rory looks to add a fourth major title to his resume at just 25.
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