Remembering Rory McIlroy’s Masters meltdown

Believe it or not, it has been 11 years since a fresh-faced Rory McIlroy imploded at Augusta National. Unable to hold his nerve in front of the thousands of golf-goers who were lucky enough to grace the Georgia-based course’s hallowed turf, and the millions who watched on in anticipation from home, the Northern Irishman capitulated on the back nine.   

Still to this day those nine holes must haunt McIlroy’s worst nightmares. After all, the Masters is the only major championship missing from the 32-year-old’s CV. It’s worth noting that all of his four major titles — made up of two PGA Championships, the US Open and The Open — all followed that collapse. But when it comes to Augusta, there’s a sense that he’s never really recovered and the scars are lasting.

Entering his eighth season without a major, McIlroy was often still at the fore of the winners’ markets prior to the big tournaments, but it appears he is slowly starting to fade away — with the bookies making him a 16/1 shot in the odds for the Masters 2022. That’s a fair reflection of where his game has been for the last few years though.

So, with the latest renewal of the prestigious tournament set to tee off on April 7th and ‘Rors’ still on the hunt for that elusive green jacket that would see him complete a history career grand slam, let’s remind ourselves of those shocking events from 2011. Read on to find out more!

The 10th hole is where it all started to go wrong for McIlroy. It was a late night for his supporters back home in Northern Ireland, but hundreds gathered at his native Holywood Golf Club in County Down to watch the action unfold and hopefully get to witness a piece of history.

With their man still holding the lead going into the back nine, albeit a slender one-shot advantage as opposed to the four-strokes he boasted in hand at the start of the round, they must have had the feeling that it was going to be worth while though.

Many perhaps turned a blind eye to his nervy first round because he still had that lead, but the cracks started to appear on the first hole on the turn for home. Tiger Woods was prowling up the leaderboard and the roars in the distance certainly wouldn’t have helped McIlroy’s nerves as he hooked his tee shot into the trees on the tenth — ultimately scoring a triple-bogey after an absolute calamity of a hole.

A bogey on the 11th and double-bogey on the 12th, after shockingly four-putting, meant McIlroy was all of a sudden out of the running. But things just kept getting worse for the 21-year-old, who looked to be holding back the tears as he slumped over his driver in the 13th tee box after his shot found the water hazard.

Despite finding that creek, he still managed to par the 13th and that helped McIlroy pull it together a bit — recording four more pars and just the one bogey on the closing six holes.  

The fans surrounding the 18th stood to applaud the Northern Irishman as he picked his ball out of the hole, but a symphony vote was not how McIlroy must have envisioned his round ending when he headed for the first tee box earlier in the day and it must have been painful to watch Charl Schwartzel slip on the green jacket.

Huynh Nguyen

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