You have to wait until you get to 4th on the list to see McIlroy, who has just 3.5% of bets to his name.
I do think it’s a fine balance with Rory though.
Elkington responded by comparing his antagonist unfavorably to Jack Nicklaus, to which McIlroy scoffed. “I’m from California. That’s just how it is, isn’t it”. “You need to keep believing in what you’re doing and I feel like I am”.
He described himself as “totally frustrated” and that feeling must have deepened as playing partners Jon Rahm and Hideki Matsuyama nestled in behind Im. Again, something I’ve talked to him a lot about over the past few years is not playing too much because mentally he just gets stale.
Still, he did win a major, which is what really ticked off McIlroy.
Lowry will be back and, like McIlroy, Harrington, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell, is sure to have plenty of local support.
But McIlroy’s continued struggles are a major concern heading into meat of the summer season, with the Open only a fortnight away and the US PGA next month at Quail Hollow where he is a two-time career victor of the Wells Fargo.
McIlroy is the 6/1 favourite with BetVictor, and heads the market alongside Japan’s Hideko Matsyuyma, Spanish sensation John Rahm and Masters runner-up Justin Rose.
Only time will tell if the break proves helpful to McIlroy’s game – after winning four majors between 2011 and 2014, he’s gone nine starts without another title.
McIlroy admitted being the tournament host did not allow him to prepare as he usually would, but added: “I don’t want to make it an excuse because I played a lot of golf last week, I played well in the pro-am and I just did not get it together”.
“Of course it’s not my usual preparation for an event but I certainly wouldn” t want to use that as an excuse, ‘ he said. “I might be the only one hoping that but I’ll be wearing my All Blacks jersey for sure”.
It had to be galling, but as he does so often, McIlroy dealt graciously with the thorny subject of trying to make sense of his early exit from the tournament which he has made one of the top events on the European Tour. Fleetwood’s form this season has been sensational, with two victories and a series of top-10 finishes.
Rahm, who contested the first two rounds alongside McIlroy, believes the Irish golfer will bounce back in time for Royal Birkdale. He hits the ball miles and those who know him best are certain that he will be up to the challenge.
Providing his short-game improves then Graham De Laet is now 66/1 shot but has had to battle with the yips when it comes to his chipping and putting.