‘It was a s**tshow’: Rory McIlroy lashes out after delays, 5-plus-hour round

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy on Friday on the 18th tee at Wentworth Club.

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Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg sat down and talked. The conversation was something about a previous event. In two weeks, the trio will be among those representing Europe at the Ryder Cup, and the scene was light-hearted, enough so that it was captured and shared by the DP World Tour social media team. 

But as to why McIlroy, Hovland and Aberg were not playing on Friday during the second round of the BMW PGA Championship?  

McIlroy had some thoughts on that, too.

“It was a s**tshow,” he told reporters on site at Wentworth Club in England. 

His reasons were multiple. 

The round had been delayed by fog by 80 minutes. But play was slowed longer than that. On the 17th hole, according to the Scotsman, three other groups waited with McIlroy’s threesome. On the 18th hole, according to the Scotsman, there were five total groups. 

On the 18th green, McIlroy finished in near-darkness, as did other groups, their putts illuminated mostly by a scoreboard to the right of the green. In total, McIlroy’s round took 5 hours and 30 minutes; he had teed off at 2 p.m. local time and finished at 7:30. 

“The fog obviously delayed things,” McIlroy told reporters on site, “but I’ve never remembered having that many players on 17 and 18.

“It’s not as if they teed us off in tighter slots or anything. We’re the last group to maybe get done [second-to-last], so we were maybe fortunate that way, but it’s hard for me trying to play the last well and make the cut. It was a bit of a mad dash and a scramble to get finished.”

Who was to blame? 

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That was unknown, but the ‘what’ seemingly wasn’t.  

“It’s an absolute disgrace,” Paul McGinley repeatedly said during the Sky Sports broadcast, according to golf website Golf Magic.

“Four hours, 40 minutes is about the average these days for a three-ball, and even that is too long. They have got to find ways to speed up the pace of play. Enough is enough now.”

Slow play, of course, is nothing new, and there have been multiple stories this year on the subject, including at the Masters, when Brooks Koepka said the wait was so severe during the final round, that eventual winner Jon Rahm “went to the bathroom like seven times during the round, and we were still waiting.”

But the scene at Wentworth was still something. 

According to the Times, Padraig Harrington sat down in a camping chair on the 18th, “yawning as he bided his time.” Defending champion Shane Lowry, Tommy Fleetwood and Sepp Straka, meanwhile, were the last group to finish, and they were also guided by the scoreboard. 

“I don’t think I’ve ever finished in the pitch back black,” Fleetwood told reporters on site. “It was nice to have the screen on the last one and just trickle one in and tap in.”

Notably, video of Straka’s shot into 18 was also shared by the DP World Tour’s social media team, and you can watch it below. 

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.