Sheung Shui, Hong Kong (4E Sports) – Defending champion and world No. 1 Rory McIlroy crashed out of the UBS Hong Kong Open Friday after carding a two-over-par 72 in the second round at the par-70, 6,734-yard Hong Kong Golf Club.
McIlroy failed to make the cut at the US$2 million event after firing a two-round total of five-over-par 145.
He failed to make the cut for the eighth time this year and only the second time as defending champion since the US Open in June.
“I’m not sure if the energy in trying to sew up the Race To Dubai and competing in the FedEx Cup in the US has taken more out of me than maybe I thought because, while I am feeling okay physically, mentally I feel really tired,” said McIlroy.
McIlroy’s early exit disappointed fans and event organizers alike as they expect the top-ranked player in the world to dominate the event.
“I think it was because he had eyes only for his girlfriend all the time and his mind wasn’t on the tournament. I think they just came to Hong Kong for dating, not golfing,” Benny Ng Tsz-ming said, referring to McIlroy’s girlfriend, tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, who accompanied the golfer to Hong Kong.
“This is a waste of government money. I don’t want to pay my tax this year,” Nelson Chau Pak-kei said
McIlroy’s appearance fee of HK$ 6 million had been paid from the government’s Mega Events Fund, which this year doubled its contribution to a record HK$16 million.
“While we would like nothing better than for Rory to mount a strong bid to defend his title over the weekend, we realize the very nature of golf, and indeed sport in general, dictates that players, however good, cannot be at their very best each and every week,” the tournament organizers said in a statement.
“Like us, he was obviously disappointed that he could not find his very best on the course, but it certainly was not for want of trying,” the statement added.
McIlroy has already won both money-list races – more than US$8 million on the US PGA Tour and $36.4 million in the European Tour’s Race To Dubai. With both in the bag, McIlroy admitted he was struggling for motivation.
“When you achieve something you want to achieve so bad, like the Race To Dubai, there is a letdown considering there are still two events remaining.” McIlroy said. “Of course, you’re going to miss cuts in your career, but it’s not nice and it’s a tough pill to swallow when you’re the defending champion in a tournament.”