Rory McIlroy Crashed at the U.S. Open. Here’s How He Recovers.

Two performance psychologists explain the mental strategies that help push past blowing a lead at a major.

LONDON — Rory McIlroy was hardly the first golf megastar to falter down the stretch of a major: see Arnold Palmer at the 1966 U.S. Open and Greg Norman at the 1996 Masters.

But for all the illustrious company, blowing a lead is still misery. McIlroy had not missed a putt inside three feet all season on the PGA Tour, and yet, with a one-stroke lead and the U.S. Open on the line at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina last month, he missed a par putt from 2 feet 6 inches on the 16th hole. He then missed a putt on the 18th from 3 feet 9 inches.

Victory went instead to Bryson DeChambeau after a great escape from a bunker on the final hole.

McIlroy, still trying to end his decade-long major drought, could only stare desolately at the screen in the scorer’s room with his hands on his hips and then trudge to his courtesy car without further comment that day.

#Pinehurt quickly became a hashtag on social media.

“Yesterday was a tough day, probably the toughest I’ve had in my nearly 17 years as a professional golfer,” McIlroy posted on X the next day.

Arnold Palmer at the 1966 U.S. Open where, like McIlroy, he blew a lead at the end of a major. Palmer never won another major after that loss.Bettmann/Getty Images

He has since withdrawn from the Travelers Championship to regroup and is set to return this week for the Genesis Scottish Open to defend his title. He will then play in the next major: the Open Championship.

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Source: Golf -


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