ARDMORE, Pa. — Rory McIlroy started the U.S. Open with a run up the Rocky steps.
He ended it going a few rounds with one of his clubs.
McIlroy was miserable at Merion and he took out his frustrations on his club on No. 11 on Sunday. His first tee shot plopped in the water. He took a drop, then sent another ball into the same creek.
McIlroy then jammed the Nike club into the ground and completely twisted the head.
“I think that’s what this tournament does to you,” he said. “At one point or another, it’s got the better of you, and it definitely did this weekend.”
He briefly lost his cool, just not his sense of humor.
When he was introduced at his press conference as shooting 14 over, he joked, “You didn’t have to tell them that part.”
He shot a 6-over 76 in the final round.
McIlroy was part of the feature group the opening two rounds, playing alongside Tiger Woods and Adam Scott — Nos. 1, 2 and 3 in the world ranking. All three were big duds at Merion Golf Club. Woods finished at 13 over, and Scott at 15 over.
“I thought of the three of us, the first two rounds, Adam played the best, and he was the one with the worst score,” McIlroy said. “But that is just what a U.S. Open does to you.”
Again, McIlroy never came close to winning. He finished 25th at the Masters this year and was coming off a brutal 78 at the Memorial. He barely made the cut and finished 57th. Most notably, he quit in the middle of a round at the Honda Classic.
Merion return: Merion’s fifth U.S. Open is in the books.
Now the question is, will it come back for a sixth?
The USGA’s gamble to bring the event back to Merion for the first time in 32 years appeared successful. The red scores expected to dominate the 6,996-yard course never came, as the course played plenty tough.