Rory McIlroy struggles to keep the momentum going

Jonathan Wall
March 9, 2012

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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