Rory McIlroy was left bemoaning the state of the English summer weather yesterday as his hopes of adding the British Open crown to the US Open he won last month were blown away.
The 22-year-old Northern Irishman came into the tournament as the favourite thanks to his outstanding performance at Congressional Country Club outside Washington, which took place for the most part in hot, sunny conditions.
That was in stark contrast to the deluge that hit him and the rest of the early starters in Saturday's third round when he effectively saw his chances vanish with a poor 74.
And the conditions were not much better yesterday as gusting winds and the occasional rainy squall swept over Royal St George's. On several occasions Sergio Garcia, his playing partner, was seen putting a consoling arm around the younger man's shoulder.
"My game is suited for basically every golf course and most conditions, but these conditions I just don't enjoy playing in, really. That's the bottom line," McIlroy said after carding a final round 73 which left him well down the field. "I'd rather play when it's 80°F [27°C] and sunny and not much wind ... my game is more suited to calm conditions. Just glad I'm in the clubhouse. I'm just glad I'm in."
Some saw these as surprising comments from a player who was brought up, for a large part, playing on the links of his native Northern Ireland where rain and wind are common bedfellows for golfers.
But such was his disgust with how things had gone at Sandwich that McIlroy was adamant he had always felt that way and always would.
"I'm not a fan of golf tournaments that the outcome is predicted so much by the weather. It's not my sort of golf," he said.
"I'm disappointed with the way I finished obviously, but I'll just have to wait until next year to try and make a good run at this tournament.
"I'm looking forward to getting back to America, playing in Akron, and obviously the PGA and the Irish Open is a big one for us, as well. It's a week I sort of enjoy."
McIlroy had come in for criticism from some quarters for taking three weeks off after Congressional during which time he took in Wimbledon tennis and David Haye's heavyweight boxing match in Hamburg, Germany.
And while he defended his preparations for the British Open, he agreed that he had been feeling the pressure following talk of him being good enough to one day overhaul Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 major wins.
"I've won three tournaments as a pro - to start talking about winning 18 majors and this and that, yeah, that was very premature," he said. "I'm looking forward to getting home for a week and then going to the Irish Open.
"But I mean, I'm still one of this year's major winners, so there's always going to be a little bit of expectation and a bit of pressure on you."