Calm Down: The Truth About Rory McIlroy’s Missed Cut at the Honda Inverrary Classic

Much is being made of Rory McIlroy missing the cut at the Honda Inverrary Classic.  The American golf media is, in their typical manner, trying to make something out of nothing.

First off, Rory got the worst of the draw at this week’s event.  On Thursday, Rory’s half of the draw played in weather conditions that made the course a full two strokes more difficult.  On Friday, Rory played two holes, then play was halted.  Play resumed, and he play a hole-and-a-half, then play was once again halted.  Finally, play was resumed for a third time.  The deck was stacked against him making the cut.  The luck of the draw: sometimes you get the breaks, sometimes the breaks go against you.

This week’s missed cut had extenuating circumstances, but there is a far more important point to be made: Rory McIlroy misses cuts.  Missing a cut is not a rarity for McIlroy.  Here are Rory’s missed cuts numbers as a professional:

  • 2007          2
  • 2008        10
  • 2009          1
  • 2010          4
  • 2011           1
  • 2012          5
  • 2013          4
  • 2014          1

Granted, almost half of those were when Rory was a teenager, but even beyond those early years, you can see Rory has missed his fair share of cuts.  In fact, he’s yet to have a year where did not miss a cut.

Note in particular 2012, when he missed five cuts.  Now, recall that he won five tournaments that year, including the PGA Championship.  That year, he missed the cut at the Players, Memorial, the U.S. Open, then won the PGA Championship.  Then later missed the cut at the Hong Kong Open, of all places.

In 2011, Rory missed the cut at Quail Hollow in May, won the U.S. Open at Congressional in June.

Now, let’s be blunt about something.  While it’s better to make cuts than to miss them, a missed cut is not a big deal.  The media makes it into a big deal because Tiger Woods had a long streak of made cuts.  With Woods falling short of Jack Nicklaus’s majors mark and Rory becoming the favorite in that chase, the golf media had to find other ways to build up Woods’s “greatness.”  He didn’t catch Jack, he still trails Sam Snead, but, by golly, he had a long string of made cuts.  THAT’S what’s important in golf!

But, consider the case of Graeme McDowell in 2013.  He had a stretch of eight tournaments where he went:

  • Missed Cut
  • Won
  • Missed Cut
  • Won
  • Missed Cut
  • Missed Cut
  • Missed Cut
  • Won

The media is obviously making way too big a deal out of Rory’s missed cut at the Honda Inverrary.  (Bizarrely, the Golf Channel’s postgame show on Friday discussed Rory missing the cut for 13 straight minutes before even mentioning Patrick Reed’s shooting 67-67 during that same bad weather.)  But, not only is the American media making a big deal out of it, but they are — surprise, surprise — trying to deceive the public.

ESPN wrote:

McIlroy, who would miss his first cut in the United States since the 2012 U.S. Open.

CBS wrote:

will most likely miss his first cut in the US since…get this…the 2012 US Open.

Golf Channel wrote:

For a missed cut on U.S. soil you have to go back even further, to the 2012 U.S. Open, while McIlroy last missed the cut on Tour in a non-major at the 2012 Memorial Tournament.

Justin Ray tweeted:

This will likely be Rory McIlroy’s 1st missed cut in the U.S. since the 2012 US Open, 988 days ago.

Well, that’s all technically true.  Because, while Rory missed the cut at the Irish Open last year, that’s not on U.S. soil, and it’s not on the PGA Tour.  Okay.  The same is true of the four cuts he missed on the European Tour in 2013.

However, at the Honda in 2013, Rory shot par 70 in round one.  In round two, Rory was +7 after eight holes.  On his ninth hole, he hit his second shot into a water hazard and walked off the course.  At that point, Rory was 7 shots outside of the cutline, with a ball in the water to boot.  Somewhere, somehow, someone decided that is not to be counted as a missed cut.

So, Rory has not missed a cut on the “PGA Tour” or “on American soil” since 2012 because he chose to walk off the course that day rather than finish and miss the cut.

Is that a bragging point?  And is it an accurate reflection of “making a cut”?

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11 Responses to Calm Down: The Truth About Rory McIlroy’s Missed Cut at the Honda Inverrary Classic

  1. Anonymous says:

    First you are critical of the media for not talking about Rory. Now you are critical because they are talking about Rory. Awesome.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Rory did get the bad side of the draw, but he is also known for being inconsistent. When he’s on he’s really on, but when he’s not he misses or nearly misses cuts. He’s never gonna match the 142 event cut streak of Woods. Rory isn’t playing like Tiger, he’s playing like Rory. Everybody needs to calm down and remember the facts.

    • lannyh says:

      I’m not going to dispute the gist of your point, but I have to point out that, with Rory’s high ball flight, he’s simply not a good wind player.
      The cut streak thing is only mentioned because it is Woods. Matt Kuchar had a long string going until early last year, and it was never mentioned. And Furyk made every cut last year but never won.
      The TV guys think it’s a big deal because they were going to show Woods all damn day even when he was out of the running. I think we’re going to see more and more of this kind of thing as Jack’s record is seen to be out of reach. They are kind of grasping at straws. I just looked at some Internet search engine numbers for Woods and, man, people are really losing interest. No wonder he does things like announce a “sabbatical.” Anything to get a little media (outside of golf) attention.
      The funny thing about Woods cut number is it doesn’t include WD’s, but it does include no-cut events. Jack actually has a better cut pct than Woods, too. (Check me on that; I’m not positive.)

      • Anonymous says:

        Rory isn’t a good wind player, which is why he had to luck out and get the good side of the draw to win the Open Championship last year. He needs to practice his stinger. With his ability coupled with being from Northern Ireland and living in Florida, there’s no excuse for being a poor wind player.

        Kuchar and Furyk are two of the most consistent players on the PGA Tour, so they make a lot of cuts and contend a lot, but they don’t win a lot. Contending regularly makes you marketable, winning regularly makes you great, and winning multiple majors makes you elite. Rory has already established himself as elite, so no amount of missed cuts can take that away.

    • Sports-realist says:

      Would you rather have a ‘cuts streak’ or the most majors? So if Rory passes Jack Nicklaus on the all time major streak, but has say 30 more missed cuts in his career, does that mean Rory shouldn’t be considered the best?

      • lannyh says:

        The golf media will probably hold a counsel and declare an edict that henceforth all talk of majors is to be replaced by talk of consecutive cuts made.

  3. Sports-realist says:

    Here’s a few stats…In the NBA Larry Bird shot 88% from the free throw line, while Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant shot 83% from the foul line(for their careers)…..So naturally Bird must be the better player? Or do we count championships or wins or streaks? ……Also Michael Williiams of the Minnesota Timberwolves made 97 consecutive free throws,but Michael Williams never won anything, but he MUST be the best player because of his STREAK…

    • lannyh says:

      When the entire golf media is working in concert to push a narrative, you can be sure they’ll all cherrypick the same stats and present them as THE meaningful stats. The problem the golf media has is that they pushed the “chasing Jack” and 18 majors so long and hard that no one is ever going to use any other marker.
      Another sports star who has been pushed aside is Tim Duncan at San Antonio. He wins and wins and wins, and the NBA pushes Lebron, and before him, Kobe Bryant.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Just face it. Rory isn’t very consistent at this point in his career. He will continually show up and compete at the big events, but will not even win as many PGA events as Mickelson. His game is strictly set up for major victories, and when (or if) he gets to 10 majors, let’s start the talk about records and such…

    • lannyh says:

      Nonsense. I’ve already addressed this: “Now let’s compare Rory to Young Phil. By the completion of the season of his 24th birthday, Rory had 6 PGA Tour wins and 2 major championships. By that same time (conveniently, the two are born in May and June), Phil had 4 PGA Tour wins and 0 majors. Rory also had 5 European Tour wins to Mickelson’s 0. Mickelson did not win his first major until nearly his 34th birthday. McIlroy had two a full decade earlier in his life. No contest. And, yet, the golf media continues to obsess over Phil Mickelson, because, as the anti-Tiger, he is a useful surrogate. The Golfdashian Twins. The mean one and the nice one. The one you hate and the one you love.”

      That was written last spring. Rory has won a couple more majors since then, as well as a WGC event. And another Euro event. Am I missing anything?

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