1 Horror Shot Ruined Rory McIlroy’s Chance at the Cognizant Classic

Rory McIlroy.

Getty Rory McIlroy plays a shot out of the rough during the third round of The Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches at PGA National Resort And Spa on March 02.

Rory McIlroy was in line to challenge for the Cognizant Classic at the PGA National Members Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, but unraveled Saturday after one errant shot.

Though McIlroy had struggled with certain approach shots during the opening round Thursday, and second round Friday, he still posted scores of 67 on both days for a total of 8 under par by the midway stage of the four-day event.

McIlroy’s driving, putting, and experience kept him within touching distance of the leaders, and as he was two under par by the 14th hole on day three, he just had to continue chipping away at the birdies to put the pressure on in the final day.

But then disaster struck as McIlroy posted a triple bogey on the 16th — a score of seven on a par four, and it was all because of one errant shot that will have ruined his entire weekend.

The 434-yard hole is one part of a three-hole stretch with the intimidating nickname ‘The Bear Trap’ — and the large water hazard sucked the wind out of McIlroy’s sails as his approach shot, once again wayward, rolled away from the green and into the water.

From there, his own ingenuity got the better of him.

Rather than take a penalty drop, McIlroy removed a shoe, got his foot wet, and tried to play the ball like the hazard wasn’t even there.

The ball barely flopped out of the water, landed on a mound only a few yards in front of him, and rolled back into the hazard.

It Really Was a Waste of a Shot

As NBC commentator Luke Donald mentioned on the live broadcast, McIlroy could have taken a penalty drop, and, had he then gone up and down — meaning, played a shot onto the green and sunk the single putt — he’d have escaped with a bogey and still remain on course to salvage the round, and challenge for the title.

However, McIlroy only admitted defeat to take the penalty drop after he botched the water shot.

From there, he pitched a shot within six feet from the hole, however, he failed to sink the putt and so he walked away from the hole with a disastrous seven.

That wayward approach shot was enough to spoil his score, and his weekend, as he never recovered from the water hazard and the triple bogey saw him plummet down the leaderboard.

He returned a score of 72 for +1 — bringing his total score for three days to -7 — six shots adrift from the joint leaders Shane Lowry, David Skinns, and Austin Eckroat.

Disaster Appears to Follow McIlroy From Course to Course

It’s not the first time McIlroy has squandered a chance to vie for a competition win.

On February 15, Golf.com reported that McIlroy endured a “seven hole nosedive” and dropped “54 spots at the Genesis Invitational.”

By the end of the tournament there were 70 competitors and McIlroy — one of the best players in the world — finished tied for 64th position.

Despite the calamity on the 16th on Saturday, McIlroy isn’t anywhere near finishing that low down the pecking order, but he’ll have to keep his head to salvage his tournament with a strong score on the final day, Sunday.

McIlroy begins his round at 11:15 a.m. Eastern Time.

The tournament airs on ESPN+ from 7:45 a.m. Eastern Time, and the Golf Channel from 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

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