“I don’t want to say anything that I’m going to regret,” said Rory McIlroy after shooting 4 of 76 in the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
McIlroy was frustrated because of Bay Hill’s difficulty in playing. He didn’t want to call the course layout unfair, but after another 76 on Sunday he called it “crazy golf.”
“I feel drunk, to be honest,” he said after completing his final lap. “The weekend is like crazy golf. You are simply not rewarded for your good moves. Like I’m blowing off steam here, and I’m frustrated and whatever. I also think the frustration is that it’s a carbon copy of what’s happened the last three years here.
McIlroy led after 18 holes this time, opening for 65. He then shot 72-76-76 to tie for 13and.
In 2021 it went 66-71-72-76. In 2020 it went 66-73-73-76.
Complete scores of the Arnold Palmer Invitational
Many courses are tougher to some degree on the weekends, but McIlroy thinks the Bay Hill team step it up more than a notch.
“I think it’s just a problem with the layout of the golf course and maybe just trying to make it a little less penalizing when you miss I guess. Or even less penalizing in case of failure. I don’t mind that golf courses are penalized when you miss, but it doesn’t reward good shots. I think that’s where it starts to cross the line,” he said.
McIlroy was not alone in his exasperation.
“I am happy to have left this golf course. Glad to be done,” said Gary Woodland, who finished eagle-double bogey-bogey to move from outright leader to T-5.
“We know the weekends are pretty brutal here,” said Tyrrell Hatton, the 2020 API champion, who shot one of only four rounds under par on Sunday to finish T-2.
“I think the greens sometimes get so fast, the pin positions just seem brutal. And it’s just, like I said, you have to play defensively and do your best to get the ball as close as possible.
McIlroy added: “They have to do something about it. There are a lot of guys kind of staying away this week to prepare for next week.
Ahead, the Players Championship and its purse increased by $20 million. All of the aforementioned said they felt confident in their games, despite the weekend’s issues (Hatton shot 78 in round 3, ahead of his closing 69). A major opportunity awaits you at TPC Sawgrass.
There’s little time to recover from the Bay Hill beatings, but a little time is all that’s needed.
“I just need the day off tomorrow to forget what happened this week,” said McIlroy, the 2019 Players Champion, “and then I kind of focus on next week.”