x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

McIlroy's fall from grace at The Honda Classic

Golf fans certainly do not deserve to be disappointed by players the way Rory McIlroy did when he suddenly withdrew from The Honda Classic.

Golf is a game of decorum, ritual, honour and respect. Players keep their own score, and even weekend duffers generally are honest about their strokes. After all in individual sports, who really loses when one cheats?

Perhaps this is why fans flock to a game that involves little more than smacking a dimpled ball hundreds of metres at a time. Mark Twain may have considered golf a "good walk spoiled", but for true fans, the poise and character needed by the world's greatest golfers day in and day out are part of the spectacle.

Which is why Rory McIlroy's silent huff at The Honda Classic in the US state of Florida last week was so uncharacteristic, and disappointing.

The world's No 1 golfer, who was seven-over through eight holes, hit his second shot into the water and walked off the course. Soon after he issued a statement that he had been suffering from a tooth ache, which made him "unable to concentrate".

The 23-year-old has struggled this year, missing the cut in Abu Dhabi in January and being knocked out last month in the first round of Match Play Championship. McIlroy may still be trying to get comfortable with his equipment after shifting to Nike golf clubs from Titleist last year.

But his fans deserve better. Walking off the job is not an option for most of us. At least not in the middle of a shift.