McIlroy drops out of world’s top-10 for first time since 2018

Bernie McGuire

Rory McIlroy (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy’s disappointing Arnold Palmer Invitational showing has seen him drop outside the top-10 on the world rankings for a first occasion in three years since winning Arnie’s event in 2018.

For the now number 11 ranked McIlroy, the story of the last day was two balls in the water off the par-5 sixth tee and not even King Neptune could salvage McIlroy’s Bay Hill fortunes from there. McIlroy did well in walking off with only a double-bogey ‘7’  on route to an eventual round of 76 for a three-under par tally.

The disappointing effort, now 490-days since his last victory in November, 2019 in far off Shanghai, sees McIlroy head to the second attempt at the defence of his Players Championship title continuing his drop down the rankings, now having slipped seven places since his T5th in last November’s Masters. The last time McIlroy was outside the top-10 on the World Rankings was in being ranked 13th the week prior to capturing the 2018 Arnold Palmer and with that victory moving him to World No. 7.


McIlroy went into the final day just four shots adrift of third round leader Lee Westwood and while he bogeyed the second, all seemed back on track in holing a 10-footer for birdie at the fourth.

Then there was the boomerang-shaped sixth hole measuring 565-yards, or 340-yards in a direct line from tee to green but for McIlroy, his first ball didn’t come back, nor did his second.

DeChambeau came to the sixth in the last group behind McIlroy and after much deliberation over the strength of the wind, had the 25% capacity roaring their delight for a second day running, and in the process stretching his new record of a 370-yard drive on Saturday to 377-yards on day four.

McIlroy dropped to four-over with a bogey on 10 before holing a five-footer for birdie at the 12th but no sooner gave a back another shot with a bogey at 15 to be now four over and sharing 13th spot. He birdied the par-5 16th but again gave back the shot with an errant tee shot left at the par-3 17th ahead of a closing par.

“I feel okay. There were some good parts this week again. Some stuff that I’m sort of, I don’t know what the word is or how to describe it, but just a little dejected or — I don’t know, like, maybe like maybe looking to go in a different direction,” said McIlroy.

“I don’t know. I need something, I need a spark, I need something and I just don’t seem to have it. Some days it’s good, some days it’s not. So I’ll get up there tomorrow, get some practice in and get ready for next week.”

McIlroy was headed straight home to his young family before heading north to Ponte Vedre and this week’s flagship Players Championship.

It was on 12th March, 2020, a few hours after McIlroy had birdied his closing three holes in a level par 72 that the PGA Tour sent a group text to all players and caddies to advise that due to growing fears for the COVID-19 virus, the Tour was going into immediate lockdown. It would not be until June 11th that the Tour restarted at Fort Worth, Texas and McIlroy spoke of how the Tour is slowly returning to normal, as evident by the noise created by a 25% capacity crowd at Bay Hill.

“I mean, I’m really happy that we played this week in this sort of atmosphere and this environment. I’ve missed this a lot. Even though it’s only, whatever, 25 percent capacity this week, it feels so much more than that and it’s great to play in front of that. I’m looking forward to doing it again next week,” said McIlroy.

“I think we’re all sort of now seeing a light at the end of the tunnel where things can at least get back to some sort of normality pretty soon. But, yeah, I mean I can’t believe it’s been a year. It’s going to be surreal looking back in 20 years time and sort of seeing what we lived through. But, yeah, I’m just looking forward to things going back to normal.”

Joining McIlroy will be reigning Open Champion Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell. Padraig Harrington will have the week off after shooting a Bay Hill last day 76 for a one-over par tally.

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3 responses to “McIlroy drops out of world’s top-10 for first time since 2018”

  1. Joseph+Dreitler avatar

    Hard to watch. Painful. Remembering what he looked like at 21. Skinny kid with good short iron play and pretty good putting. Fast forward through huge $$$ dealS for equipment, etc., ditching pro caddie, bulking up and little impact on majors post 2014. He looks lost and his golf game is for someone with such talent. Time to decide what’s important in life. If it’s making lots of $$, being popular and enjoying life without the pressure of being in the hunt for majors, keep doing what you’re doing. Einstein said the definition of insanity was doing the same thing and expecting a different result. If he wants to change, go to a decent swing coach and be open to everything – real caddie, going back to Titleist clubs, sports psychologist. Not everyone is meant to be Jack or Tiger. Actually, they were about the only ones, he may not have that fire burning inside with all the money and fame that’s come his way.

  2. DERH50 avatar

    Interesting points from Joseph. Unfair to blame Harry Diamond entirely but I think his first and immediate step is to get a real caddie on the bag. Someone that he will listen to (apparently Rory can be stubborn…) , someone that can read greens; someone that has experience … Due to Tigers unfortunate accident, perhaps Jo LaCava… or Steve Williams interested in the challenge? Bones or John Wood might do a season….Billy Foster is committed to Matt Fitzpatrick..

  3. G Kelly avatar
    G Kelly

    Maybe Rory should look at his stats with JP on the bag and since JP. He has paid a big price for not wanting to be told what to do!

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