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, 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.

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  1. I (was) a huge Rory fan but he has lost all respect from me. You are getting paid 25 MILLION dollars a year (just from Nike!) and you quit because you’re playing bad and “your tooth hurts?” Come on dude..If I was getting paid even a fraction of that to play golf, I would fulfill my obligation and finish the round no matter what! Do your job that you’re getting paid an extreme amount of money to do, even if it means missing the cut by a mile. Play through the pain AND THEN tell the reporters you’re not in a good place mentally. Sorry but this really pisses me off..

    • Wow. boneheaded move. The pr people are working overtime on this one. Gut it out , miss the cut and move on . The press and fans love to pile on stories like this . Rory does not seem comfortable with the number one in the world spot. Look back over the past 10 years and see how long players lasted at number 1. Tiger handled it the best till he cracked up. This is a opportunity for Rory to prove if he can handle number one. We will be watching . p.s. I pay full boat for my equipment and have never kept nike equipment for long.

  2. I can see switching equipment taking some time to get used to…new ball new heads same shafts made just like his old ones, maybe costing a shot or two a round…but +7 after 8? There’s something much bigger then equipment going on here…he’s 23 and found a female, I think we all can attest to a girl distracting us at some point in our lives.

  3. @Andrew: Faith has everything to do with golf doesn’t it. Because Tiger was such a religious man when he breeze through Major Championships? Because Fowler and Crane are shining beacons of achievement in golf? Give me a break.

    Mental strength and religious faith are very very very different things.

  4. I agree with Rory McIlroy’s decision to withdraws from the Honda Classic. He was simply not able to concentrate and didn’t want to affect his playing partners. It’s definitely better to apologize for a sudden withdrawal than having to apologize for a poor performance. So he took the right decision in my opinion.

    • I see your point, but I highly doubt he would’ve affected them by making bogies or even doubles. He only had half of the round left, work through the pain and finish. If this tooth pain isn’t a lie, he would’ve had pain relievers in the bag I’m sure. Take some just to get through the round.

  5. He hit some beautiful drives and irons, even with his mental game being out of sorts. Personal and/or health issues to resolve; who cares, he’s human and imperfect. Some of the judge and jury posters need to get over themselves.

    Can’t wait to see Rory back in action and firing on all cylinders.

  6. He is all over the golf course with the new equipment. To have gone from laser approach shots to missing greens by yards tells all. Maybe he should play a practice round with the Titleist clubs and see what happens. Candy apple red driver. Come on! Who is the target of this marketing tactic?

  7. Wow, a lot of lucky people here who’ve never suffered from dental pain. Trust me, an infected/impacted wisdom tooth will make your head throb so bad you wish you could just lay down and die to be rid of the pain. Try playing top level golf with that.

    That said, the switch to Nike really isn’t likely a big deal. He played forged blades with Titleist and he’s playing forged blades with Nike. How much different could they really be?

    • It anything “feels” slightly different, it’s probably differently enough to obviously not be confident to go at it. Even if they are forged, they probably feel way different. Including the forged titanium driver heads – and the Nike one he’s using with the hollow back is very different to the Titty one he was using before. And we’re seeing the effects of all that, obviously. I’m sure the ball is doing weird stuff too.

      • “Putter debacle” ?!

        We’re not overreacting at all here are we?

        He changed to a heavier putter to cope with slower greens in Dubai than he’d been used to in his practice in the states. It happens.

        The media ‘change in equipment’ obsession with Mcilroy is beyonda joke now. The kid has lost his form. Simple as that.

    • @RMHampel: Yes we have all been there with that in fact several times.
      But how do you explain him munching on that huge sandwich walking down the 18th F/W minutes before he quit????

      • I noticed that too. I think Rory is too wealthy to get mentally correct right now. No motivation + no work ethic= no game.
        He is a talent and will get it back when he commits again. He can score with any club in his hands if he is focused.

  8. If he has had a sore wisdom tooth, that’s a simople problem that for 200 million to play Nike he should have had taken care of during his layoff earlier this winter. I think this is B.S. and the problem is his switch from Titleist to Nike—as I predicted would be a problem in this very same comments section months ago when it was first announced. Greed never pays!!!

    • I agree with you on this. I think he is having a heck of a time trying to get used to the change and I don’t mean just equipment.

      I believe they’ve moved to quickly with that 200 million check. He should have spent another year as #1 with his old equipment and lifestyle and then made a move when he is more mature. From my point of view he is not ready for this.

  9. Something is going on…can’t wait for it to come out. Just like Dustin Johnson “hurt his back” lifting a jetski but really went to rehab. Everyone gets carried away with the money, confidence, and spotlight, just a matter of time. Props to Bubba, Fowler, Ben Crane etc for staying strong in their faith.

  10. Only HE knows if this is the REAL reason. I have my doubts to be honest, but lets give him the benefit of the doubt. If it was a question of mental breakdown of just non confidence in his new clubs, he is in for HELL in Agusta. There will be no excuses there, at a place his past ghosts are lurking. Golf is a great game which I love dearly, but those that play know that its a MIND GAME.