What is wrong with Rory McIlroy? That is a question that many golf fans must be asking after the 2011 U.S. Open champion missed the cut for the third straight time.
A disastrous second round at the Memorial Tournament meant that the young star from Northern Ireland was not around for the weekend. The U.S. Open is just around the corner and many eyes will be on him when that event begins. I'm not ruling McIlroy out as a favorite, but right now he has no momentum entering one of the year's biggest events.
Over his last three tournaments, we have seen some troubling signs from McIlroy. It's not just that he is missing cuts. He seems to lack focus out on the golf course. He also loses composure at times, as evidenced by his fit at the BMW PGA Championship when he threw a club. Right now, McIlroy looks miles away from the player that set records at the 2011 U.S. Open. The fact that a player of his talent has missed the cut three straight times is nothing short of amazing.
So what does this mean for McIlroy and the U.S. Open? Despite his recent woes, he does have four finishes in the top three so far this season. That includes a win at the Honda Classic in March. As recently as early May, McIlroy finished in a tie for second at the Wells Fargo Championship. The point is that his slump is fairly new. It's not like he has struggled for an extensive period of time. Maybe McIlroy is burnt out from playing so much, something that has impacted him in the past. The weekend off might be the best thing for him because he will be back on the course on June 7 for the St. Jude Classic.
Ideally, McIlroy would get an additional week off to rest before the major. However, playing in the St. Jude Classic might actually help him. It will give him a chance to gain the confidence he needs heading into the year's second major. However, the pressure is mounting. If he flops at the St. Jude Classic, the slump will become one of the biggest storylines at the U.S. Open. But if he plays well, McIlroy won't have to answer anymore questions about his missed cuts.* - Mark Paul is an avid golf fan. He has watched and played the game since high school.