Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

McIlroy faces questions over withdrawal

Rory McIlroy was 'in a bad place mentally' after quitting the Honda Classic
Rory McIlroy was 'in a bad place mentally' after quitting the Honda Classic

Rory McIlroy will face the media on Wednesday for the first time since his shock withdrawal from the Honda Classic last week.

McIlroy claimed he was "in a bad place mentally" after pulling out of the defence of his title midway through his second round, but later released a statement to say a sore wisdom tooth was the reason for his early exit.

The world number one had played the opening eight holes of his round in seven over par, before finding a water hazard on the 18th and immediately quitting the tournament.

It was McIlroy's first ever withdrawal from a tournament as a professional, but follows on from losing in the first round of the Accenture Match Play Championship to Shane Lowry and missing the cut in the Abu Dhabi Championship in his first event since signing a multi-million pound deal with Nike.

McIlroy has 14 days from the date of the withdrawal to submit written evidence to the PGA Tour to support his claim of medical grounds, with a fine or suspension possible if the body is not satisfied with his explanation.

But a more public explanation is also on the cards with the 23-year-old scheduled to give a pre-tournament press conference at 9am EST (1400GMT) ahead of the WGC-Cadillac Championship on Wednesday.

Assuming he is fit to play, the Northern Irishman is at least guaranteed four rounds at Doral, as the USD 8.5million event - won last year by Ryder Cup team-mate Justin Rose - has no cut.

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