Sobel: What to Make of Rory McIlroy’s Sunday Slip-Up at the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Sobel: What to Make of Rory McIlroy’s Sunday Slip-Up at the Arnold Palmer Invitational article feature image
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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Rory McIlroy.

  • It has been a year since Rory McIlroy last won on the PGA tour and his sixth-place finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday extended that streak.
  • Jason Sobel analyzes what's going been going wrong for McIlroy.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Rory McIlroy trudged off the final green at Bay Hill Club & Lodge on Sunday afternoon, yet another title contention ripped from his increasingly pliable grasp, this one thwarted by some devilish combination of fate, destiny and a cold putter.

The newly uncrowned champion glad-handed some tournament officials, forced a smile, then entered the tunnel leading toward the scoring area and unleashed an audible, exasperated exhale.

It would be the last sign of frustration he’d allow.

Minutes later, McIlroy stood in front of the assembled media and answered all of the questions he already knew were coming.

About the full year now without a single tournament victory. About a growing trend of close calls that he hasn’t been able to finish. About burgeoning criticism due to a lack of clutch shots, a curious mutation for a player who once prided himself in execution during these situations.

“That’s the great thing about golf, you don’t have to wait too long to get back on the horse,” he immediately rationalized. “I’m happy with everything.”

He probably wasn’t and he definitely shouldn’t be.

The burning question, though, isn’t about whether the usually honest McIlroy was being totally candid in the moment. Instead, we should be asking if something really is broken — and if so, how he might fix it. Despite the trends, this isn’t as simple to answer as it may seem.

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