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    Golf roundup

    Apologetic Rory McIlroy moving forward

    He says he won’t quit early again

    DORAL, Fla. — Rory McIlroy offered another apology, a straightforward explanation, and a pledge Wednesday that he will never again quit in middle of a round.

    McIlroy faced the media for the first time since he abruptly walked off the golf course in the second round of the Honda Classic, telling reporters that his head was not in the right place and then issuing a statement that his sore wisdom tooth made it difficult to concentrate.

    Turns out the wisdom tooth wasn’t the whole truth, and the world’s No. 1 player said, ‘‘It will never happen again.’’


    ‘‘I think it was a buildup of everything,’’ McIlroy said at the Cadillac Championship. ‘‘I've been putting a lot of pressure on myself to perform, and I've been working so hard and not really getting much out of it. That’s just been the frustrating thing, and that’s what happened.

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    ‘‘I just sort of let it all get to me.’’

    McIlroy attributed his frustration to wanting to improve on his breakthrough season, when he won his second major at the PGA Championship, five tournaments around the world, money titles on the two biggest tours, and established himself as the best player in golf.

    But he dismissed suggestions that his new equipment deal added to the pressure.

    The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland signed with Nike for what is said to be upward of $20 million a year, but his game fell apart quickly.


    He also said his poor play has nothing to do with his relationship with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.

    ‘‘Just because I have a bad day on the golf course and Caroline loses a match in Malaysia, it doesn’t mean that we’re breaking up,’’ he said with a laugh.

    It was the first time McIlroy has been criticized, not only for quitting in the middle of the round but trying to disguise the reason as a sore wisdom tooth. He did say his lower right tooth has been bothering him, and that he would see his dentist in Belfast later this year.

    ‘‘It wasn’t bothering me enough to quit,’’ he said.

    This was about the frustration of not finding his swing and being exposed on the golf course with high scores.


    And it led to a decision he wishes he could take back.

    ‘‘No matter how bad I was playing, I should have stayed out there,’’ he said. ‘‘I should have tried to shoot the best score possible even though it probably wasn’t going to be good enough to make the cut. At that point in time, I was just all over the place. I saw red . . . and it was a mistake and everyone makes mistakes and I'm learning from them.

    ‘‘I regret what I did.’’