Rory McIlroy breaks silence on U.S. Open collapse, shares how visiting NYC afterward helped

NEW YORK — The day after Rory McIlroy’s crushing collapse in the U.S. Open, the world’s second-ranked golfer went to New York City.

McIlroy had already planned the trip in advance of that weekend’s Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Conn., which he ended up skipping, and used the Big Apple to help clear his head.

“I went to Manhattan, which was nice,” McIlroy said Wednesday of his three-day visit from June 17-19.

“It was nice to sort of blend into the city a little bit. I walked around. I walked the High Line a couple of times. I made a few phone calls. I sort of was alone with my thoughts for a couple of days, which was good.”

McIlroy had just squandered a two-stroke lead on the final day of the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina, missing short putts on the 16th and 18th holes to allow Bryson DeChambeau to pull off an improbable victory.

McIlroy did not address the media afterward, nor had he until Wednesday’s press conference ahead of this week’s Genesis Scottish Open.

“I can vividly remember starting to feel a little uncomfortable waiting for my second putt on 16, and the putt on the last, it was a really tricky putt,” McIlroy recalled of the U.S. Open. “I was very aware of where Bryson was off the tee, so I knew I had to hit it really soft. If the one back didn’t matter, I would have hit it firmer.”

Finishing off the U.S. Open would have marked McIlroy’s first win at a major in nearly a decade — a schneid dating back to the PGA Championship in August 2014.

Now 35, McIlroy is one of three golfers to win four majors by age 25 — a list also occupied by Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.

“When I look back on [the U.S. Open], just like I look back on some of my toughest moments in my career, I’ll learn a lot from it and I’ll hopefully put that to good use,” McIlroy said. “It’s something that’s been a bit of a theme throughout my career. I’ve been able to take those tough moments and turn them into great things not very long after that.”