Rory McIlroy Admitting To Being ‘Mentally Fragile’ Gives Us An Inside Look Into His Nine-Year Major Drought, And It’s Sad

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It’s been nine years and over 3,200 days since Rory McIlroy won the 2014 PGA Championship, his last major title.

After finding the winner’s circle four times in his first 24 major championship starts as a professional and rightfully being crowned the next great one before even sniffing the age of 30, McIlroy has now gone winless in 32-straight major championships after finishing T-7 in last week’s PGA Championship.

It’s not like McIlroy’s game has completely fallen off of a cliff in major championships over the last nine years – he’s had eight Top Five finishes amid his drought – but the question remains the same.

Why? Why has McIlroy gone nine years without winning his fifth major championship.

The obvious and most honest answer is that winning a major championship is extremely difficult, despite how easy McIlroy may have made it look earlier in his career.

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Rory McIlroy is in the middle of a dreadful major championship drought, and may never escape it. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

McIlroy is a human being and certainly feels the outside pressure that’s mounted over the last nine years. That nine-year stretch has included starting a family, the undefeated Father Time chipping away, and most recently him becoming the unofficial spokesperson of the PGA Tour amid its battle with LIV Golf.

Nobody with eyes and a brain has questioned whether or not McIlroy still has the game to get the job done at a major championship, it’s extremely obvious that the only thing holding him back is between his own ears.

Rory McIlroy Dealing With Mental Demons

McIlroy alluded to the mental side of the game playing a role ahead of him missing the cut at this year’s Masters explaining how he got way out ahead of himself and essentially thought the green jacket was his to lose before hitting a single shot.

He went even deeper into the mental side of his game after the disaster at Augusta, admitting that he was “mentally fragile” in the moment.

“I go to the second tee on Friday morning or Friday afternoon, and I see I’m already 10 back of Brooks or whatever. So then I’m thinking, ‘Oh, geez, I have no chance of winning,’ and things sort of crumble,” McIlroy told CBS on Sunday.

“It’s just like being a bit mentally fragile because you’re so focused on the one thing you’re trying to do when, in essence, you just need to play a golf tournament and see where the chips fall at the end of the week.”

McIlroy already considering himself defeated before even beginning his second round at a major championship paints a very clear yet, rather sad picture of where the 34-year-old’s headspace is at right now.

He was undoubtedly more settled at Oak Hill, but still never made serious noise on the weekend.

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Rory McIlroy is admittedly “mentally fragile” after his latest winless major. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

By no means is McIlroy’s self-reflection here a bad thing, and you have to respect his honesty as always, but he sounds like someone who has accepted that he’s in a hole that he’ll never get out of.

We’re talking about arguably the greatest golfer of his generation and a four-time major winner who is still on the right side of 30 that is tossing out the phrase “mentally fragile” because he’s trailing the leader of a major championship with three rounds left to play.

McIlroy could have looked at the situation as he had 54 holes left to attack and chase down Koepka and the other leaders, but instead, he essentially admitted that he didn’t see the point.

His Top 10 finish at Oak Hill should silence a few of the demons he’s battling in his mind right now whenever he steps foot on a major championship venue, but it seems they’re going to be there until he captures major title number five.

Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris

Written by Mark Harris

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