World No 1 Rory McIlroy made a frank admission last night after his worst-ever tournament performance in Europe.
“I think I might have taken my eye off the ball a bit,” said McIlroy after collapsing to a second-round 79 in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
It meant a second successive missed cut following his early exit from the Players Championship in Florida a fortnight ago and at nine over par – he started the event with a 74 – the US Open champion crashed out an incredible 21 strokes behind runaway halfway leader James Morrison.
Before the wind got up world No 236 Morrison, who switched to golf after playing for the England youth cricket team alongside current Test stars Alastair Cook and Tim Bresnan, added a sparkling 64 to his opening 68.
At 12 under par the 27-year-old moved four clear of world No 2 Luke Donald, who won the title at only six under last year, and Scot David Drysdale.
Donald now needs only a top eight finish to take the top spot back off McIlroy in what would be the sixth change at the top in under three months.
“It’s just a week I’d like to forget,” added the 23-year-old McIlroy.
“I just feel I’ve lacked competitive rounds and maybe just not practising as hard as I might have been.
“Maybe it’s a good thing I have the next two days off to practise. Everything was not really on song. I just have to go and work hard and try to get it back.”
It is less than three weeks now to his defence of the US Open and he has only one event left to try to build confidence for that – next week’s Memorial in Ohio.
McIlroy, whose week also included a club-throwing show of frustration that is likely to result in a European Tour fine, fell apart around the turn for the second day running. One under par and inside the cut mark after seven holes, he double-bogeyed the next and then had five bogeys in a row.
A par at the short 14th was almost a cause for celebration but when he double-bogeyed the next after another bad drive only five players in the 150-strong field were below him.
It needed a two-putt birdie at the par five last for him to break 80.
“I really wanted to make four. It’s not nice to play like this and not nice two weeks (he meant tournament weeks) in a row,” he said.
Sheffield’s Danny Willett consolidated his position in the top 20 with a one-under par 71 that leaves him four under.
Hull’s Richard Finch bounced back from an opening 76 with a 67 that helped him make the weekend. Leeds’s Danny Denison missed the cut on five over.