‘I feel like I missed it’: Rory McIlroy suffers another squire in his bid to win his first Major since 2014 at The Open as Australia’s Cameron Smith produces an ‘impressive’ performance to defeat the Claret Jug to win
- Cameron Smith put on a stunning performance to win the 150th Open Championship
- The Australian inflicted even more suffering on a shocked Rory McIlroy
- McIlroy suffered another near miss in his attempt to win a first major since 2014
- He ended up third behind Smith and Cameron Young at St Andrews
McIlroy most recently had to step in for Eagle to force a playoff, but it never came close after suffering the pain of another near-miss in his bid to win a first major since 2014.
His final round of 70 left him two behind Smith, who came back from four overnight to card an exceptional 64 and a record-breaking 20-under par total to claim the win.
Rory McIlroy was on the verge of tears after admitting he let The Open “slip away” on the final day
Australia’s Cameron Smith lifted the Claret Jug after an impressive performance at St Andrews
The newly-crowned champion golfer later refused to deny reports he could join the Saudi-backed LIV series.
Third behind Smith and Cameron Young, McIlroy said: “Obviously I’m disappointed.
“I felt like I didn’t do much wrong today, but I didn’t do much right either. I was beaten by a better player this week. A par 20 under for four rounds of golf here is really, really impressive.
McIlroy ended up third behind Smith and American Cameron Young at The Open
“I’m doing well. At the end of the day, it’s not a matter of life or death. I will have different chances to win the Open Championship and different chances to win Majors. I feel like I missed it, but there will be other opportunities.
While McIlroy had his third top-five finish in a Major this year and did not finish outside the top-eight in all four, it was undoubtedly another missed opportunity to stop the clock after leading by three to ten holes.
He had managed to fend off the threat of his 54-hole co-leader Viktor Hovland, but when Smith launched a five-birdie blitz on consecutive holes starting in the 10th, McIlroy in the group behind paid the price for too many misses putt.
McIlroy ended up paying the price for too many missed putts when Smith made a five-birdie blitz
McIlroy said: “I can’t be too down on how this year and this year has gone.
“I’m playing the best golf I’ve played in a long time. So it’s just a matter of constantly knocking on the door, and eventually one will open. I just have to dust myself off and come back and keep working hard and keep believing.
“When I came down 14, I knew I had to answer Cam. I just couldn’t find the shots or the putts to do that. The putter got a bit cold today compared to the last three days.’
McIlroy added: “My hotel room is right across from the big yellow sign at 18. And every time I step out of the house I try to picture McIlroy at the top of that ranking and how did that feel ? At the beginning of the day it was at the top, but it won’t be at the beginning tomorrow. You have to let yourself dream.’
For Smith, whose 20-under total was the best overall at a major, the win represents his first title at one of golf’s top four tournaments.
The 150th Open represents Smith’s first title at one of the four major golf tournaments
The 28-year-old said: “I think winning an Open Championship in itself will probably be the highlight of a golfer’s career. To be able to do it so close to St Andrews is just incredible.
When asked how he would celebrate, Smith said, “I’ll probably have about 20 Claret Jugs (beers).”
With 2021 Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama on the verge of joining LIV and amid lingering rumors surrounding European Ryder Cup captain Henrik Stenson, Smith was asked if he could sign up with the Rebels.
Ominously, he paused on the verge of a rejection and said: ‘I’ve just won the British Open and you’re asking about it. I think that’s not so good. I don’t know buddy.
“My team around me is worried about all these things. I’m here to win golf tournaments.”