The chase is the best part but I’m not sure I have the stomach to carry on

Ronan MacNamara

Rory McIlroy (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Stop the world and let me off. I’ve had enough of the Rory rollercoaster. I want to mope around on the tea cups.

When Del Boy and Rodney became millionaires in Only Fools and Horses Del didn’t know how to feel. He had achieved everything he had ever wanted in life but it wasn’t how he thought it would feel. The chase was over, but the chase was the fun part.

When Rory McIlroy went two shots clear with five to play in last night’s final round of the US Open at Pinehurst and even when he was one ahead with three to play, I began to think: how am I going to feel if he wins, what will it feel like if the chase is over?

The chase wouldn’t have quite been over, as far as winning a fifth major goes, yes, that would be a mountain climbed and that would have really put the chase for the grand slam completing Masters title on the cards.

McIlroy’s big chance ended in tatters in gut-wrenching fashion. There have been near misses in the last decade particularly the 2022 Open and 2023 US Open but they only spurred me on to believe that he would go and get the next one, and the one after that and so on…

Now, I can’t stomach the thought of reinvesting myself in McIlroy for the Open in Royal Troon next month.

This is the worst €95 I’ve ever won.

One can argue that Cameron Smith and Wyndham Clark just played that bit better than Rory on the final day at St Andrews and LA Country Club but on what is now a famous Sunday in Pinehurst, McIlroy did so much right.

In a heavyweight bout with Bryson DeChambeau he came out swinging and had the American on the ropes.

The putts that refused to fall at St Andrews and LACC dropped on Sunday and from the very first hole when he rolled in for birdie, he looked a different animal.

Tagged with being too cautious on major Sundays over the last couple of years, McIlroy made things happen.

There was no backing off and four birdies in five holes from the ninth turned the US Open on its head as he went from one behind to two in front with five to play and one in front with three to play.

The old annoyances from McIlroy on a major Sunday weren’t there last night, but he found a completely different way to lose it.

For the sake of nitpicking, over the last ten years McIlroy hasn’t had that many realistic genuine chances to win a fifth major championship and while he let opportunities go in 2022 and 2023 it was definitely more a case of him not winning rather than losing.

You can’t say that anymore and the two putts will gather the headlines but he did not play the last five holes well. The lefts off the tee came back and he was three-over for that stretch.

It’s just even more jarring that Bryson was one-over for that stretch as well.

The inexplicable miss from two and a half feet on 16 when he was 496 out of 496 from that range all season was just another scene of the McIlroy drama that I didn’t know existed.

Even on 17 the bravery to get up and down from the bunker when faced with the same length of putt for par was gutsy.

Then the putt on 18…

For context, this is a three foot nine inch putt for par on the 72nd hole of a major championship that he had to start on a line that was outside the hole. That’s a hard putt, a horrible putt to have.

Add to that the ghost of the missed putt on 16 and the ghost of not winning a major over the last ten years were on each shoulder and it’s a hide behind the couch and pray kind of putt.

He missed. He missed and the wait goes on. One of the great things about supporting Rory McIlroy is that he will never be universally loved, he’s not even loved by the whole of Ireland.

For years I have launched the staunchest of defences for Rory, but as the corners of anti Rory sentiment rejoiced last night I for once, had no retort.

The best part about following Rory is the lead up to those four weeks every year. The hype, the anticipation, knowing you are prepared to be let down again but never wavering in your belief that this week might be the week.

Following Rory is an emotional rollercoaster, it goes up, down, left, right, sideways, backwards and upside down, but I have remained strapped in.

I’ve had enough, I need a break.

Where’s the line for the teacups?

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