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Coming into this week, Rory McIlroy hadn’t missed a cut since the the FedEx St Jude Championship last August.

An error-strewn display in The PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass has brought that streak to an end.

The world No.3 struggled off the tee throughout the opening two rounds – hitting only 13 out of 28 fairways – and wound up missing the cut by three shots after rounds of 76 and 73.

It continues his love-hate relationship with the Pete Dye course. He has now missed the cut six times in 13 career appearances in The PLAYERS.

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Afterwards, he conceded that off-course distractions, such as his opposition to LIV Golf and his role in the new-look PGA Tour schedule, had perhaps finally caught him up with him.

“I’d love to get back to being a golfer,” said the Irishman. “It’s been a busy couple of weeks, and it’s been — honestly it’s been a busy sort of six or eight months.

“But as I said at the start of the week, everything has sort of been announced now, and the wheels have been put in motion, so it should obviously quieten down from here.”

Asked how hard it has been to focus on being purely a golfer, McIlroy added: “It’s just the time management. The golf out here, that’s fine, but it’s just more the time at home to make sure you’re getting prepared, to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to be ready once you show up to these weeks.

“That’s where I’ve maybe sacrificed a little bit of time with some of this other stuff.”

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The four-time major champion will play only one more event – the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play – before his latest attempt to complete the career grand slam at next month’s Masters Tournament.

He’ll make a visit to Augusta National next week but insists that his game is not far off where he’d like it to be approaching major season.

“I actually don’t feel like I’m playing that badly at all,” he added. “A few miscues here and there, putted it off the sixth green yesterday, and just stuff that — just a little untidy here and there. But I hit the ball okay. This course, if you’re a little off, definitely just magnifies where you are.”

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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