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Rory McIlroy blames 'stupid mistakes' for disappointing form after PGA Tour's return

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Rory McIlroy has been ultimately frustrated by his form since golf returned.

Rory McIlroy has been ultimately frustrated by his form since golf returned.

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Rory McIlroy has been ultimately frustrated by his form since golf returned.

If there was a way to sum up Rory McIlroy's form during the PGA Tour's return to action, then Sunday's three under par final round at the Travelers Championship wasn't too far off.

The world number one did plenty right and shot a decent score, complete with five birdies and an eagle, but on the other hand threw in enough errant shots to also card two bogeys and a particularly galling double on the 17th.

That arrived as he attempted to find the green from a fairway bunker 145 yards out, only to see the ball drop short into the pond.

While on that occasion, he could be forgiven for chasing a birdie-birdie finish in a last-gasp attempt for an unlikely shot at silverware, it is such over-optimism that the Holywood star is pinpointing to explain his form over the past three weeks.

During that time, McIlroy has similarly had plenty of positive moments; such as last week's seven under par opening round 63 or impressive second rounds at both the Heritage and Charles Schwab tournaments. Those all had fired him into contention, only to be ultimately thwarted by disappointing weekend displays.

As a result, McIlroy has yet to finish in the top 10 since the return, coming in tied for 32nd, 41st and then 11th last weekend.

It's the first time since November 2018 that McIlroy has ended outside the top 10 in three tournaments on the bounce.

Now he's hoping a break, potentially for two weeks until the Memorial at Muirfield on July 16-19, will help him 'reset' and rediscover the pre-lockdown form that had seen him camped in the top five for seven outings on the bounce.

"There has been some really good stuff in there, but then just some really stupid mistakes," he said of his return.

"(On Sunday) I got off to a good start and then bogeyed some easy holes. It's a little too up and down, a little bit roller coaster-ish, where it didn't really feel like that before we stopped.

"It was quite consistent and I was building rounds very nicely with a lot of pars, a few birdies and not many mistakes.

"Over the last few weeks I've made too many mistakes, too many bogeys and hit too many loose shots.

"My decision making was terrible the last few days. Just some stupid shots and trying to take too much on at times. There are just dumb mistakes in there that I don't usually make."

In fairness, golf's three-month pause presented a strange reality for McIlroy, who has only previously been out of competitive action for such a long period once in his professional career, due to a rib injury at the end of 2017.

As such, he admits it may be taking a little more time than he would like to adjust to the rigours of competing for titles.

"Mentally it's just getting back into that tournament routine, tournament mode, and that's why I want a couple weeks off more than anything else," he said.

"It's just the mental aspect of it, especially when you are frustrated. I've been frustrated on the course the last three weeks, not being in contention. It sort of sucks going off in the middle of the pack on a Sunday, knowing that you don't really have a chance."

Graeme McDowell, who has dropped to 53rd in the world after back-to-back missed cuts, is also sitting out this week's Rocket Mortgage Classic, as is Open champion Shane Lowry, who bettered his two successive missed cuts with a 60th place finish last weekend.

Belfast Telegraph