Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 20 September 2020

Rory McIlroy proves at Tour Championship that the pros can also hit duff shots

Northern Irishman routinely produces the spectacular on the course but that was not the case on the 18th at East Lake

Rory McIlroy plays a shot on the 18th hole during the second round of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club. AFP
Rory McIlroy plays a shot on the 18th hole during the second round of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club. AFP

Most of the time, golf fans watch in awe as the professionals on the PGA Tour produce shots we can only dream of.

It is, after all, why they get paid handsomely to play the game while the rest of us have to fork out on green fees and memberships.

Every now and then, though, a pro golfer will remind us that they are indeed human and capable of duff shots.

Step forward, Rory McIlroy. The world No 4 routinely displays the spectacular on a golf course but that wasn't the case on the 18th at East Lake during his second round at the Tour Championship on Saturday.

From the rough, 209 yards to the hole, McIlroy proceeded to duff his second shot. It travelled 30 yards before plonking into the lake.

Offering his take on the shot, the Northern Irishman said: “The lie was sort of iffy. My biggest concern was trying to carry the first bunker on the right there, and I knew I needed to hit it really hard and I swung hard at it, and I got it maybe like right in the middle of the ball. I felt like if I tried to sweep it, it would be better, and I just sort of came up on it a little bit.

“Probably in hindsight trying to take on a little bit too much. So yeah, and then it would have been nice to get away with a par. It wasn't to be.”

According to the PGA Tour, the 18th (formerly the ninth) at East Lake has been played 1,947 times in the ShotLink era (since 2004), with McIlroy's just the 23rd second shot to find the water, meaning only 1.2 per cent of second shots end up in the lake.

McIlroy is accustomed to being in exclusive golf company but this is one club he'd rather not be included in.

The four-time major winner ended his second round with a one-over par 71 to sit eight-under and tied-eighth for the tournament.

World No 1 Dustin Johnson tops the leaderboard on 13-under, one shot ahead of South Korea's Sungjae Im.

Updated: September 6, 2020 10:11 AM

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