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McIlroy 'in a bad place mentally'
Defending champion Rory McIlroy admitted he was in a "bad place mentally" after pulling out of the Honda Classic midway through a second round that was spiralling out of control.
The Northern Irishman, ranked number one in the world, began on the back nine at the Palm Beach Gardens course and played his opening eight holes of the round in seven over par. He then found the water at the 18th - his ninth hole - and immediately quit the tournament.
"I'm not in a great place mentally," he told reporters, according to ESPN.com. "I can't really say much, guys. I'm just in a bad place mentally.''
Shortly after, McIlroy released a statement through the PGA Tour, citing wisdom tooth pain for his exit.
He said: "I sincerely apologise to the Honda Classic and PGA Tour for my sudden withdrawal. I have been suffering with a sore wisdom tooth, which is due to come out in the near future. It began bothering me again last night, so I relieved it with [painkiller] Advil.
"It was very painful again this morning, and I was simply unable to concentrate. It was really bothering me and had begun to affect my playing partners."
McIlroy had a level-par 70 on Thursday, but was set to miss the cut after his flurry of dropped shots before deciding enough was enough. He had double-bogeyed the 11th, taken a seven at the par-four 16th, and also given shots away at the 13th and 17th holes. He was playing in a group with Open champion Ernie Els and American Mark Wilson.
His statement continued: "I came here with every intention of defending my Honda Classic title. Even though my results haven't revealed it, I really felt like I was rounding a corner. This is one of my favourite tournaments of the year and I regret having to make the decision to withdraw, but it was one I had to make."
In McIlroy's absence, Michael Thompson climbed to the top of the leaderboard with a five-under 65 moving him to eight-under for the tournament.Luke Guthrie was in the process of trying to catch him, one shot behind after 14 holes, while Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell both signed for rounds of 68 that left them two shots off the lead.
However, overnight leader Camilo Villegas endured a miserable day as he signed for a 77, sporting five bogeys and a double bogey to plummet to a share of 72nd place. Rickie Fowler, who had been part of the pack one shot off the lead, was also suffering as his 71 dropped him to joint-ninth.