Rory McIlroy on latest near-miss in Abu Dhabi: ‘I don’t feel like I played great’

Following his latest near miss at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Rory McIlroy admits his inability to stay consistent on the golf course is what’s costing him.

McIlroy took a one-shot advantage into the final round, but his habit of failing to deliver on Sundays continued as he closed with a disappointing 72 to finish in third place.

At one point last year, McIlroy boasted a first-round average of 67.57 – the best on the PGA Tour – while his second and third-round averages of 68.14 and 67.86 were the sixth and fourth-best on tour respectively.

But his final-round average of 70.71 was only tied for 123rd – a clear sign that his form is deserting him when he needs it most.

It’s a problem that prevented him from picking up any victories in 2020 and it seems to be rearing its ugly head once again, although at this early stage of the season the Northern Irishman chose to look at the positives.

“Started well, started great with two birdies in the first three,” he said of his final round 72. “And then I felt like there was a few putts I hit today the wind affected the putts more than the last of couple of days – the three-putt on four, and there was a couple of others.

“A couple of bogeys around the turn didn’t help. I was in good position at 10 and Tyrrell’s outside of me, makes that putt for birdie and I can’t make mine for eagle. That was a huge momentum keeper for him.

“And then I bogeyed the next, and after that it was hard to get back into it.

“I don’t feel like I played great this week, I was sort of managing my game a little bit.”

Despite the latest disappointment, McIlroy felt there were a lot of positives he could take from the week in Abu Dhabi as he prepares to head to Torrey Pines for this week’s Farmers Insurance Open, although he admitted he would need to up his consistency going forward.

“It’s nice to get a competitive week under my belt and know where my game is and see what I have to do to try to keep on improving, and thankfully I’ll get on the plane tonight and head over to Torrey Pines and tee it up there next week,” he added.

“I felt for the most part of the week my short game and my putting was really good. I scrambled well, I hit some pretty good approach shots, especially last night coming down the last few holes.

“There were parts of rounds I got the driver going, even the last few holes this evening I got the driver going a little bit, but still, sometimes I’ll have a few holes like that and then there’s a few holes where it sort of gets away from me.

“So just a little more consistency, being able to replicate the good ones hole after hole and day after day until you can put four rounds together.”