Why didn’t Rory McIlroy win the 2014 Australian Open?

If any non-golfers caught wind of the Australian Open golf on the weekend, they may well ask you this question.

If there is one week where professional golf pops up on the radar on non-golfers in Australia, it’s Australian Open week. And in preparation for a few questions around the water cooler tomorrow, perhaps we should ponder the question: Why didn’t Rory McIlroy win?

The ‘golf-less’ just don’t realise just how difficult this game can be and will most likely be surprised to hear that the world’s best golfer didn’t win the Australian Open – and win easily.

And what makes this seemingly naïve observation an interesting one, is that many of us golf fans are wondering the same thing.

Rory McIlroy is not just the world’s best golfer at the moment. He is the best golfer on the planet by a long way and McIlroy will line up for his third consecutive major when he arrives at Augusta National next April.

But it’s easy to pinpoint where it all went wrong for McIlroy. It was his drive at the par-4 ninth hole.

Rory’s golf ball finished in the newly planted fescue grass on the right, and rather than take his medicine, take an unplayable and move on, he elected to play it.

Unbeknown to McIlroy, his ball wasn’t resting common ground, but a hessian-type matting restricting weed growth around the fescue. His club and the ball never had a chance. The ball disappeared underneath the matting and all of a sudden, McIlroy was flailing.

An unplayable drop rested up against a tuft of fescue grass that forced the world number one to play along the line of the trees. A couple of minutes later and McIlroy had carded a triple-bogey and four behind the leaders.

Most of us expected McIlroy to bounce back like the world’s best golfer would normally do – but instead he made double-bogey at the next hole.

And that, pretty much, was that.

Pressing for birdies on a gusty golf course, McIlroy went nowhere and played the next (and last) 26 holes in 1-over par.

So why didn’t Rory McIlroy win the Australian Open?

Put simply, in his last tournament in a truly memorable 2014, one poor decision sent him plummeting down the leaderboard, and his chance to defend his Australian Open trophy disappeared.

It’s comforting to know that even the world’s best can make decisions and play golf shots that are familiar to us all.

When someone asks you why Rory McIlroy didn’t win the Australian Open, you can simply reply; “Because he’s human”.

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