Defending Honda Classic winner Rory McIlroy withdrew from the Honda Classic after an ugly start to Friday’s second round.
McIlroy, who is ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings, was 7-over through 8 holes, and withdrew after hitting his second shot on the par-5 18th (his ninth hole of the day) into the water.
“I sincerely apologize to The Honda Classic and PGA Tour for my sudden withdrawal,” McIlroy said in a statement after the round. “I have been suffering with a sore wisdom tooth, which is due to come out in the near future. It began bothering me again last night, so I relieved it with Advil. It was very painful again this morning, and I was simply unable to concentrate. It was really bothering me and had begun to affect my playing partners. I came here with every intention of defending my Honda Classic title. Even though my results haven’t revealed it, I really felt like I was rounding a corner. This is one of my favorite tournaments of the year and I regret having to make the decision to withdraw, but it was one I had to make.”
The PGA Tour requires that players have a medical reason for withdrawing from a tournament. According to ESPN.com, McIlroy told reporters briefly in the parking lot that “I’m not in a great place mentally. I can’t really say much, guys. I’m just in a bad place mentally.”
McIlroy’s equipment change from Titleist to Nike has made him the subject of constant speculation in 2013. So far, he has only played 80 holes of tournament with the new clubs — he missed the cut in his first event, the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship, and was eliminated by the No. 62-ranked player in the OWGR, Shane Lowry, in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship last week.
McIlroy is currently slated to play in the WGC-Cadillac Championship next week at Doral.