ST ANDREWS, Scotland | When he awoke on Sunday morning, in his hotel room on the small street The Links, adjacent to the course, Rory McIlroy opened the curtains and saw his name on top of the huge yellow board across the street. He kept dreaming.
But the clock did not strike 12 hours later. As he had a date with history and sought to end his run through the Grand Slam championships, he remained neutral. Much to the dismay of the crowd.
Meanwhile, Cameron Smith, a veritable birding machine, passed him in the left lane to touch the Claret Jug.
< p>We expected a duel at the top between McIlroy and his young playmate Viktor Hovland in the last pair to start. The group in front, however, spiced up the show.
Smith captured the title, and alongside him, Cameron Young made a splash at the final pennant by performing an eagle there. This push allowed the American to finish, alone, in second place.
Author of a final round of 70 (-2) and having slipped to third place at -18, two strokes behind Smith, McIlroy is obviously disappointed. With 18 greens hit in prescribed strokes, he failed to seize the opportunities due to a freezing putter and 36 putts. This was his cruel fate at St Andrews.
“I executed good rolls, but nothing fell,” said the one who was content with two sparrows. This is clearly insufficient in the final round, when the competition becomes fierce.
“I didn’t play badly, but I didn’t play better. It's one of those days where you control your round well, but where you fail to take advantage of opportunities on the easier holes. That's what happened at the end of the driveway and back.
“A few birdies from the 9th to the 14th pennant would have changed the situation,” he continued, tipping his hat to the champion. A better player beat me. To subtract 20 strokes from par on this course this week is frankly impressive, especially with a 64 in the final round. »
A door will open, one day
Although he really wanted to triumph at the Old Course, a site so unique and dear to him, McIlroy refuses to flog himself. It was one of his best performances in a very long time.
“It’s not a matter of life or death. I have to keep knocking on the door. Eventually, one of them will open. »
The 33-year-old Northern Irishman will have to wait another nine months before finally savoring another major title that has been slipping through his fingers since August 2014. And he has never won at Augusta, where he finished second last April. Besides, he only needs the green jacket to complete his career Grand Slam.
“I will still have my chances of winning the Open or one of the other majors. I feel like I let this opportunity slip away today [Sunday], but I'm not worried, ”he expressed.
McIlroy refuses to give up. He will continue to dream. One day his clock will strike and he will be crowned Grand Slam champion again.
- Next year the British Open will be played on the fairways of the Royal Liverpool.