Rory McIlroy melts down one day after course record
Rory McIlroy admitted he was shell-shocked after another frightful Friday saw him tumble down the leaderboard in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
McIlroy is 51-under for his first rounds in 2014 – and nine-over for his second rounds.
Furthermore, he is 90-under for the first, third and fourth rounds combined.
If McIlroy could sort out his second-round syndrome, he would once more be nigh-on unbeatable.
The only consolation he could muster was that he made the cut on level par and that it was not his personal worst for the season. At the Memorial six weeks ago, he followed up a 63 with a 78.
He is only six off the pace set by Scotland's Marc Warren (69), the Argentinian Ricardo Gonzalez (71) and Sweden's Kristoffer Broberg (71), although with likes of England's Justin Rose (68) in fourth on five under, the odds are stacked against him.
He was at a loss to explain the transformation in form which saw him drop from first to outside the top 30. It has become a spooky theme, which, as McIlroy acknowledged, is now self-perpetuating.
"It's been the case all year," he said.
"Having to talk about it, it's always being brought up, it's sort of in your mind. Maybe I'm putting more pressure on myself to shoot a good score.
"It's another Friday out of the way, thank God, and I can go on to the weekend. I shot 68 on the Friday at the US Open so hopefully next week at the Open will be the same."
"I can go out in the morning and try to get some of those shots back," McIlroy continued.
"I am shell-shocked, yeah, because when I went to the gym in the morning the wind didn't seem as strong as it is now so I wasn't expecting this. Everything was tougher."
Earlier in the week, McIlroy said he was "relishing the challenge" of playing in the wind and rain.
But it was the switch in wind direction which made it so much more arduous. Suddenly the front nine was the place to make birdies and the back nine was all about protecting par.
McIlroy managed neither. He went out in 38, five shots more than Thursday and back in 40, which was a nine-shot differential.
"I'd be much happier standing here after shooting a couple of 71s but that's not the case," McIlroy said.
"It hasn't been the case all year. I've got off to great starts and just fell away."
"When I woke up this morning and went to the gym the wind didn't seem like it was up as much as it is now, so I wasn't expecting this tough a test.
"The wind direction yesterday was definitely easier but I'm glad that I've seen this wind direction today because I think that's what we're going to get again tomorrow. So at least I've played a round in it and I know what for expect."
In contrast, Ryder Cup team-mate Justin Rose went from woeful on Wednesday to title contender on Friday, carding a 68 to finish five under par and just one off the clubhouse lead.
Rose, who won the Quicken Loans National at Congressional a fortnight ago, said: "I came here on Wednesday and felt absolutely horrendous. It was like I had lost my game somewhere over the Atlantic.
"But the last couple of days I have been finding my feet again.
"It was great to see the course in a completely opposite wind. The par fives are playing very easy on the front nine and there are some tough par fours on the back.
"I did well to hang on to my score on the back nine and made a few good six or seven-footers coming in."
Warren squandered a three-shot lead with four to play in the 2012 Scottish Open at Castle Stuart and admitted it would be a "romantic tale" if he could make amends on Sunday.
"It's a massive week and anyone would love to win, but being Scottish it would be that much more special," Warren said. "What happened two years ago was tough to take at the time but it was good experience and hopefully it will stand me in good stead.
Meanwhile, Ulsterman Michael Hoey carded a second round, two over par 74 to drop down to two under, six off the lead. Darren Clarke joins McIlroy on par and Ballyclare's Gareth Maybin just made the cut on two over.
Rory is so close
The 430-yard bomb which Rory McIlroy hit during the first round of the Scottish Open is the second-longest drive ever recorded on the European Tour.
But it's impossible to say what the longest drives of all time around the world are because of changes to the way that statistics are recorded on different tours.
What is generally regarded as the longest drive of all time, Carl Cooper's unbelievable 787-yard effort at the Texas Open in 1992, doesn't feature in the record books as only stats for certain holes were recorded back then. But it is an amazing story.
It was a par four 456-yard third hole and Cooper's drive hit a concrete cart path – like the Don Johnson character's shot in the movie Tin Cup – passing not just the green, but also the greens at the fourth, fifth and sixth holes as well, overshooting the target by more than 300 yards.
He hit a four iron then an eight iron back to the green and ended up taking a double-bogey.
Shiv Kapur had a stunning 442-yard effort at the 2012 Madeira Island Open. The 13th, a downhill par four, was the perfect place for the Indian golfer to launch at the green. It ended up just 11 yards short of the putting surface.