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Golf news 2024, Rory McIlroy’s US Open collapse and Bryson DeChambeau’s post-defeat rejection

Rory McIlroy returned to his own little world a few days late.

He also had a trip to Manhattan planned, on the heels of a U.S. Open in which he missed two putts to within three feet. McIlroy said he walked the High Line several times and could be a face in the crowd in America’s busiest city.

“It was nice to have a few days alone with my thoughts,” McIlroy said at the Genesis Scottish Open, his first return since his devastating defeat to No. 2 Pinehurst.

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“It was tough, but at the same time, it became easier each day to focus on the positives and think about the future instead of thinking about what just happened.”

It is hard to forget what happened.

McIlroy missed a 30-inch par putt on the 16th hole in the final round. And then he missed a downhill slider from just inside four feet on the 18th hole, paving the way for Bryson DeChambeau to win another U.S. Open and extending McIlroy’s decade without a major.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy reacts after completing the final round of the 124th U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, North Carolina on June 16, 2024. (Photo: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy reacts after completing the final round of the 124th U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, North Carolina on June 16, 2024. (Photo: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Getty

He attributed it to losing focus in the final hour, especially when he and DeChambeau became aware of what was happening around him. Even as McIlroy stood over a difficult shot on the 18th hole, he wondered if he could make par from the left rough behind DeChambeau. McIlroy said he hit the putt too softly to keep it from going 10 feet.

“It allowed me to escape my own little world a little bit,” McIlroy said.

He said there were lessons he had learned and now he was back at it. McIlroy is the defending champion of the Scottish Open, where he hit a 2-iron into a stiff wind from 201 yards last year to set up a short birdie and hold off Scotland’s own Robert MacIntyre.

And next week is the final major of the year, the British Open at Royal Troon. McIlroy said it was not a redemption opportunity, just another opportunity to win his first major in 10 years.

He suffered at the US Open but says he has had tougher times. He cried in a car after missing a big opportunity at St Andrews, missed a putt and Cameron Smith shot 64 to win at the home of golf in 2022.

He also referenced the 2011 Masters, when he lost a four-stroke lead in the final round with an 80. That hurts as time goes by because it’s the only major McIlroy hasn’t won.

“It was one of the tough losses, but not the toughest,” he said.

What McIlroy didn’t regret was his quick departure after DeChambeau’s spectacular 55-yard bunker shot on the 18th hole that set up the four-foot par putt and the win. McIlroy didn’t speak to any media members, walked straight to his car and spewed gravel as he sped away from Pinehurst.

“There was nothing I could say. It would have been nice because you guys could have written something about it or quoted me a few times,” McIlroy said. “I’m sorry. You guys were the least of my concerns.”

McIlroy described the final round of the US Open as “a great day, until it wasn’t great.”

The most curious was when he said he started to unravel with a 30-inch putt on the 16th hole. It was much more routine than the putt he made on the 18th hole. It required him to hit a few cups to the left because it broke so hard and had the potential to hurtle past the hole.

“You’re standing there, it’s hard not to think about the future or not to notice Bryson’s ball before it goes into the fairway or things like that,” he said. “But again, it’s on me to make sure I’m in the right mindset.”

McIlroy said it wasn’t a bad shot, but he missed it at a terrible time. It cost him a one-shot lead, and the final bogey — and DeChambeau’s brilliant par save — decided the outcome.

There is one piece of history McIlroy hopes to relive: his ability to come back. Two months after blowing a big lead at the Masters in 2011, he won his first major at the U.S. Open.

He has two weeks in Scotland to go from Pinehurst, with the second week at Royal Troon attracting much more attention, and a month to go until he is in contention for Olympic gold.

For McIlroy, the goal is to move forward.

“When I look back on that day, just like I look back on some of the toughest moments in my career, I’m going to learn a lot from this and hopefully put it to good use,” he said. “That’s been a theme throughout my career. I was able to take those tough moments and turn them into great things in a very short time.”