WATCH: Rory McIlroy melts down and snaps an iron in two

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy hits his tee shot on the 9th hole at Sherwood Country Club on Thursday.

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Bad iron. Bad. 

Rory McIlroy hit an iron on his third shot on the 439-yard, par-4 18th hole at Sherwood Country Club into the rough on the right side of the green. He’d hit three more shots on the hole. He’ll hit several more shots after Thursday’s first round of the Zozo Championship.

That iron won’t hit any of them.

McIlroy pushed the neck of his club into the ground and snapped it. He completed the break with his hands. McIlroy then walked down the fairway with the top half of his club in his right hand and the bottom half in his left, at one point taking an imaginary swing with the pieces.  

Better. Much better. 

“Uh oh,” analyst Paul Azinger said on the Golf Channel broadcast.  

“Ooh. There goes that one,” announcer Dan Hicks said.

McIlroy had hit his first shot on 18 right of the trees on the right side of the hole, then hit his second shot back into the fairway, short of the water in front of the green. He had birdied his two previous holes. Which had followed a bogey on 14 and a double bogey on 15 as part of his 1-over 73 round.  

“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Rory snap, but it happens,” Azinger said. “It just shows you he’s not here for second place; he’s here to win. His expectations are high, and when things go the way they go, he’s human, too.” 

His fourth shot wasn’t much better. His chip caught a little too much grass, and it fell just onto the green. He two-putted from there for a double bogey.  

“He might have needed the club he just broke,” Azinger said after the chip. 

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“But you know, it’s not a good look when that happens. I guarantee he felt terrible after he did it, but it just shows you that it doesn’t matter how many millions these guys have, how many tournaments they’ve won, they still get disgusted with themselves.”

McIlroy has been with himself before.

At the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club, McIlroy snapped an iron in similar fashion after knocking two straight shots into the water on the 11th hole (hat tip to Brendan Porath). At the 2015 World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship, McIlroy’s club went into the water on the 8th hole at Doral soon after his ball did (hat tip to Hicks).

“Well, I guarantee he feels pretty bad, about as low as a snake’s belly right now, after breaking that club for all the world to see,” Azinger said. “But again, the competitive nature and we’re all human.”   

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at 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