Tough finish for McIlroy as Stenson & Spieth slapped with bizarre penalty

by | Dec 6, 2021 | 0 comments

Rory McIlroy (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Bernie McGuire

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Rory McIlroy’s final round in his 14th full season in the pro ranks ended without fanfare at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

McIlroy walked from the Albany course with a 72nd hole bogey in a round of 70 for an eventual six-under par tally to finish near the tail of the field in the $3.5m event.

McIlroy had been sharing the lead on day one thanks to a sizzling 66 in a great bounce-back having signed for a 74 in the final round a week earlier and let slip victory at the European Tour’s season-ending DP World Championship in Dubai.

Sadly, for the final three rounds in the Tiger Woods-hosted event McIlroy was simply making-up the numbers with scores of 71, 75 and then his closing two-under par.

There was some joy for McIlroy before heading home to his young family and that was snatching a 15th hole eagle ‘3’ though it was all too late.

It was the first time McIlroy had teed-up in formal competition on the host Albany course and now it’s some five weeks off before starting the New Year in the back-to-back Dubai Desert Classic and Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Just two players were behind McIlroy in the final Bahamas wash-up and they were fellow Open Champions Henrik Stenson and Jordan Spieth with both players, who were out in the last group, failing to break 70 over the four rounds.

Stenson was the defending champion and finished with a one-over par tally while Spieth, also a past winner, tailed out the field with rounds that got worst with each day including weekend scores of 75 and 76.

And the duo found themselves being penalised for remarkably playing off the wrong tee at the par-5 ninth hole and each walking off with double-bogey ‘7s’.

“I’m still not sure which way we played it, but yeah, Jordan and I kept our heads down after finishing out on hole No. 8 and walked to the 9th tee box that we did on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and put the ball down and hit some beautiful tee shots,” said Stenson.

“Then when we went down to the hole, went down to the balls. The rules official said, did you hit off the right tee box? And we’re like, well, yeah, kind of — and then we looked back and we saw that there was another one forward and left.

“So obviously they switched things around and put 17 on the 9th tee box today and 9 was in a different place and we didn’t pay attention being first out and just motoring along.

“Yes, it was just go back and reload. It was only two shots each, so it wasn’t a big deal. Then we just kind of carried on from there.”

Spieth was just as surprised to be slapped with a penalty.

“I actually didn’t think we were going to get penalised because it’s a charity event, but then I realised there’s world ranking involved and all that,” said Spieth.

“I think the frustrating part for us now is that every other group’s going to be — they’re making sure to tell them, but for us they didn’t. It obviously didn’t matter for us, which is fortunate I think for those guys.”

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