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Devil Ball Golf

Rory McIlroy struggles to keep the momentum going

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Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

When you've been playing as well as Rory McIlroy has over the last couple of months, it's easy to look at a poor round of golf and wonder if something's amiss.

But after reaching golf's peak, there's a good chance Thursday's 1-over 73 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship was nothing more than a hangover round following a week that saw him not only take over the number one spot in the Official World Golf Rankings, but hold off Tiger Woods and a host of other big names to pick up the second most important win of his career.

When you've been playing as well as McIlroy has, you're due for a bad round. It's not like he's produced a bunch of them recently anyway. Dating back to last year's PGA Championship, the Ulsterman has only produced two over-par rounds, including the 73 at Doral.

It's safe to say he's allowed a free pass every so often. Most of McIlroy's game was in pretty good shape on a blustery day at Doral, as he hit 67 percent of his greens in regulation (currently tied for fifth); the only problem was he couldn't make a single putt, averaging nearly 2 putts per hole on the day (1.917). A week after the 22-year-old got up-and-down from everywhere and made every clutch putt in sight, it was like his short game took a day off.

Currently seven shots back of the lead, he's most likely not going to be a factor over the weekend unless he puts everything together on Friday. But the way he's been playing recently, one off week -- if it turns into that -- won't really matter.

McIlroy has been the hottest player on the planet of late and no matter what he does this week, there's a high likelihood he's still going to be the favorite going into the Masters.

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