Withdrawing from a Tournament – Educational Series

Withdrawing from a Tournament

Learning from McIlroy’s ‘Mistake’

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C.– Last weekend on the PGA TOUR, Rory McIlroy withdrew from the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., on No. 18 without finishing the hole. McIlroy was 7-over par for the round and heading for another missed cut when his second shot landed in the water and he walked off the course – the rest is history.

Any golfer, professional and junior alike, that has participated in a competitive golf round has experienced frustration and disappointment in their own abilities. Withdrawing from a tournament might seem like the best option in a moment of aggravation. In the world of junior golf, having a bad score on a tournament résumé may seem like the worst possible option when looking to play college golf. In reality, withdrawing from a tournament can be a much bigger problem than a bad score.

Withdrawing from an event due to injury or illness is one thing, but withdrawing because of a bad round is an entirely different issue. College coaches look at a wide variety of statistics when they are recruiting. The number of tournaments that a player has withdrawn from can call to question the player’s mental toughness as well as their character.

Coaches do not want a player that quits. Coaches want to see a player who tries their hardest on every shot regardless of their overall score. Golf is a game of ups and downs and college coaches understand that disappointing rounds happen. It is easier to explain a bad round to a coach than it is to explain walking off the course.

McIlroy came back on Tuesday after the completion of the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic and apologized for his withdrawal. He was quoted saying that he regretted his decision to withdraw.

“It was a reactive decision,” McIlroy said in an interview. “What I should have done is take my drop, chip it on, try to make a five and play my hardest on the back nine, even if I shot 85. What I did was not good for the tournament, not good for the kids and the fans who were out there watching me — it was not the right thing to do.”

What every competitive golfer can learn from McIlroy’s mistake is that the important thing on the course is to play through the tough rounds. Keep calm and focus on each individual shot. Be sure to take a break after the round and assess what changes need to be made before the next competition.


(Photo credit: www.PGA.com)