McIlroy Left 'Punch Drunk' After Weekend of 'Crazy Golf' At Bay Hill

The Northern Irishman shot 8-over-par over the weekend after opening with a 7-under-par 65

Rory McIlroy felt the weekend conditionas at the Arnold Palmer Invitational made it like 'crazy golf'
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy said the weekend conditions at the Arnold Palmer Invitational were like “crazy golf” and admitted to feeling “punch drunk” after shooting back-to-back 76s. The Northern Irishman was two shots clear of the field after his opening seven-under-par 65, but finished tied 13th on 1-over as Scottie Scheffler won his second PGA Tour title of the season on 5-under-par.

McIlroy has called for changes to be made to the set up at Bay Hill or risk more players skipping the Arnold Palmer Invitational in future. He feels the combination of fast greens, thick rough and windy conditions unfairly penalises players to the extent that more and more will miss the event in favour of preparing for The Players Championship, which starts this week at TPC Sawgrass.

“They need to do something about it,” said the four-time Major winner. “There's a lot of guys that sort of stay away this week to get ready for next week. Next week's become such a big event, $20million purse. The four Majors are sacred in this game, but it's very close to being among them with the way it's going.

“I think it's just a golf course set up issue and maybe just trying to make it a little less penal when you miss, I guess. Or not even less penal when you miss. I don't mind golf courses being penal when you miss, but it's not rewarding good shots. I think that's where it starts to get across the line.

“It makes you feel as if you're not playing as good as you are. Like I'm playing good. I'm hitting good shots. I'm swinging the club well. I'm chipping well. I'm putting well. But it can knock your confidence whenever the conditions are like this.

“I'm certainly playing better than shooting 8-over over the weekend. It's just a matter of trying to regroup and forget about this week, and next week's going to be a completely different test.”

Scheffler’s winning mark of five-under-par was the highest in relation to par since Jon Rahm won the BMW Championship with a four-under-par total in 2020.

Jeff Kimber
Jeff Kimber

Jeff graduated from Leeds University in Business Studies and Media in 1996 and did a post grad in journalism at Sheffield College in 1997. His first jobs were on Slam Dunk (basketball) and Football Monthly magazines, and he's worked for the Sunday Times, Press Association and ESPN. He has faced golfing greats Sam Torrance and Sergio Garcia, but on the poker felt rather than the golf course. Jeff's favourite course played is Sandy Lane in Barbados, which went far better than when he played Matfen Hall in Northumberland, where he crashed the buggy on the way to the 1st tee!