Scott Van Pelt Reflects on Rory McIlroy's Decision After US Open

“Rory is one of my very favorite people in the sport for a lot of different reasons.“- Van Pelt said.

by Sead Dedovic
Scott Van Pelt Reflects on Rory McIlroy's Decision After US Open
© Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images Sport

Rory McIlroy surprised many after the final round of the US Open by leaving the golf course without congratulating his opponent or being part of the celebration. McIlroy even refused to speak with the media, visibly frustrated by what happened. 

The Northern Irishman couldn't accept the outcome, aware that he came close to lifting the trophy. 

McIlroy bogeyed three of the final four holes and also missed putts on the 16th and 18th holes. His behavior and early departure sparked a wave of reactions from everyone. 

ESPN's Scott Van Pelt decided to give his take on the whole situation. It seems he is a big fan of Rory McIlroy and his game, but Van Pelt also believes that McIlroy's reaction should have been completely different. A player of such experience and caliber did not need to act that way.

“Visits with the media after any finish, good or bad, in the drought — if you want to frame it that way — in Majors for a guy who’s come so close, so often since his last win, particularly in this U.S. Open. Now, six consecutive top tens, three straight top fives, a solo runner-up by just a single stroke in back-to-back years. His fourth career runner-up at any Major, all since 2018.”said Van Pelt, as quoted by Awfulannouncing.

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy© Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images Sport

Scott Van Pelt didn't want to focus only on the negative aspects and criticism, instead choosing to highlight the positive qualities of this brilliant golfer. He stresses that McIlroy is a great golfer who thinks before responding and someone who has previously handled defeats well. However, losing in such style, at such a big tournament, is surely not easy to bear. Nevertheless, the Northern Irishman had to let reason prevail over frustration.

“Now, Rory is one of my very favorite people in the sport for a lot of different reasons. One, he’s a thinker, and he answers things thoughtfully. He’s also a great champion. And today, understandably, a bitter pill, a chance to end this major list drought, and it slips away as it did.“- he continued.

Van Pelt recalled historical moments such as Phil Mickelson's unfortunate shot into a beer tent on the final hole of the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, resulting in a double bogey, and Mickelson's self-critical comment, "I'm such an idiot." He also recalled Greg Norman's collapse during the 1996 Masters, where he lost a six-stroke lead to Nick Faldo over a brutal five-hour span. 

ESPN's Scott Van Pelt pointed out that despite everything, Norman appeared and answered the questions, although he preferred "that the earth swallow him whole".

McIlroy isn't the only golfer who has had to endure such things in his career, as many others have faced similar challenges, but despite that, they have tried to maintain their spirit, believing that a new day likely brings something completely different. McIlroy is certainly now with a clearer head, aware of everything, and the impressions have settled a bit. Waiting for a Major for years, being under pressure, and being close to victory is a tough thing, especially when he realizes he lost the tournament. It will take longer for McIlroy to accept this outcome, but we have no doubt that when he 'shakes off the curse', things will look quite different.

Rory McIlroy's message

Although Rory McIlroy has not spoken out until today, he has realized that a golfer of his caliber and popularity must send a message to his fans and those who have supported him, including his critics. The 35-year-old admitted that yesterday was one of the toughest days in his career, aware that he was close to victory. Rory McIlroy has shown that he respects his opponents, as he congratulated Bryson on his amazing success and significant career milestone. McIlroy wants to see personalities like Bryson on the golf scene for years to come, as they increase interest in golf and elevate the quality of the sport.

“Yesterday was a tough day, probably the toughest I’ve had in my nearly 17 years as a professional golfer. Firstly, I’d like to congratulate Bryson. He is a worthy champion and exactly what professional golf needs right now. I think we can all agree on that,” McIlroy posted to his social media account.“- he wrote.

McIlroy isn't happy with what happened, especially the mistakes he made in key parts of the final round, but it's just a lesson for him ahead of the challenges to come. McIlroy intends to focus on the positive things and turn a new leaf. Being disappointed and frustrated for months are not the plans of this experienced golfer. He wants to enter new tournaments mentally stronger and physically fitter.

Rory Mcilroy Us Open