In his almighty fury, Rory McIlroy acted more like Hulk Hogan than Ben Hogan. These were unprecedented shirt-ripping scenes more befitting to World Wrestling Entertainment than the European Tour, as the raging Northern Irishman tore apart his Nike top when his desert meltdown handed America a piece of golfing history.
Having looked impervious all week, McIlroy’s temper boiled over on his way into the recorder’s hut, as his upper garment was made to suffer leaving his chest exposed. With a red face and clearly not dressed to speak in front of the TV cameras, Mclroy was quickly whizzed away on a buggy.
Meanwhile, Collin Morikawa was celebrating a $4m (£3m) payday as the first US player ever to win the European Tour’s order of merit.
What a bizarre, ridiculous climax this was. So impressive and clinical from Morikawa – and so calamitous and, yes, juvenile from 32-year-old McIlroy. The pair were level when McIlroy had only four to play, but in that crazy final hour the deficit extended to five, with McIlroy shooting a 74 and falling into a share for sixth.
In fairness to McIlroy, the histrionics were triggered by a wretched piece of fortune. Yet from his incredibly bad break on the 15th – where his approach ricocheted off the flag into a bunker – it unravelled quite horrifically and questions will inevitably be asked about his reaction to a bad break – and that was even before his Incredible Hulk impression.
Perhaps hackers will fully understand the collapse, but McIlroy’s mission is to be the consummate pro and after his victory in Las Vegas last month, the game had hoped and believed their golden talent was back on track – both in his swing and his mind. However, he could not stop that moment of extreme golfing cruelty from causing mayhem in his focus.
When that beautifully struck wedge was in the air, he would have felt so confident of a third DP World Tour Championship. McIlroy’s ball was destined for holeside and a birdie surely awaited to take him one clear of Morikawa, who was on the par-three 17th.
McIlroy was appropriately aghast at the result and failed dismally to recover his poise in time. The bunker shot was decidedly mediocre, coming to rest on the apron of the putting surface. A two-putt bogey.