“Stuck in neutral.”
That was Rory McIlroy’s honest assessment of his week’s work at the US PGA Championship as his wait for a fifth major title goes on.
The Northern Irishman closed with a level-par 72 to finish on five-over at Kiawah Island, closing the book on a disappointing week.
McIlroy, 31, was heavily fancied to end his seven-year winless drought in golf’s marquee events this week having won the Wells Fargo Championship a fortnight ago, not to mention the fact he won the Wanamaker at the same South Carolina course in 2012.
In the end, he failed to break par in any of his four rounds and was emptying out his locker before the final group got underway on Sunday.
As he admitted afterwards, he has a “ways to go” before he gets back to his very best.
“The par-5s were a killer,” admitted the four-time major champ. “I made six bogeys on the par-5s in the first two days, I think.
“Especially on a par-72, those are the holes that you have to birdie. Even walking off there with pars is a disappointment, so to walk off there with bogeys is obviously even worse. I really put myself behind the 8-ball with that.
“And then, I actually felt like I putted okay the first couple days and then just over the weekend I started to miss a few. I started to over-read them a little bit and was sort of questioning my reads. A little bit of indecisiveness crept in.
“I just need to figure out a driver, as well. I just haven't driven the ball as well as I know that I can for a long time. That's where the foundation of my game, I guess, and once I'm driving it well, everything becomes so much easier.
“I haven't driven the ball like myself since 2019, so I need to figure it out.”
McIlroy’s next scheduled start is the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village in a fortnight’s time.