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Rory McIlroy insists he has no regrets whatsoever about the swift exit that followed his US Open collapse. 

It took less than hour for a crestfallen McIlroy to go from signing his card to being mid-air on his plane home after his devastating near-miss at Pinehurst three weeks ago.

He had just thrown away a glorious chance to end his decade-long hunt for a fifth major with two short missed putts on 16 and 18, and was in no mood to hang around.

McIlroy took a break from the game to process his emotions after that hasty departure from North Carolina – where he was criticised by pundits and fans alike for failing to address champion Bryson DeChambeau and the media after his round.

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But ahead of his Genesis Scottish Open title defence – his first start since that latest major blow – McIlroy was unapologetic about his Pinehurst disappearing act.

“Absolutely not. No,” McIlroy said, when asked if he has any regrets about his post-round actions at Pinehurst.

“There’s nothing that I could have said that was – not that – I mean, it would have been good because you guys would have been able to write something about it or have a few quotes from me. No offence, you guys were the least of my worries at that point.”

McIlroy, however, was strikingly positive as he reflected on what went wrong – saying he will take learnings from Pinehurst before next week’s Open at Royal Troon.

“I think the way I’ve described Pinehurst on Sunday was like it was a great day until it wasn’t,” he explained.

“I did things on that Sunday that I haven’t been able to do in the last couple years. Took control of the golf tournament. Held putts when I needed to. Well, mostly when I needed to. Made birdies. You know, really got myself in there. And then obviously unfortunately to miss those last two putts, or the putt on 16 and obviously the putt on 18.

“It was a tough few days after that, obviously. But I think as you get further away from it happening, you start to see the positives and you start to see all the good things that you did throughout the week.

“There’s learnings in there, too, right. I can vividly remember starting to feel a little uncomfortable waiting for my second putt on 16, and you know, the putt on the last, it was a really tricky putt. And I was very aware of where Bryson was off the tee. I knew I had to hit it really soft. If the one back didn’t matter, I would have hit it firmer.

“But because I was sort of in two minds, I didn’t know whether Bryson was going to make a par or not, it was one of those ones where I had to make sure that if the putt didn’t go in, that it wasn’t going ten feet by which it very easily could have.

“When I look back on that day, just like I look back on some of my toughest moments in my career, I’ll learn a lot from it and I’ll hopefully put that to good use. It’s something that’s been a bit of a theme throughout my career. I’ve been able to take those tough moments and turn them into great things not very long after that.”


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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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