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Rory McIlroy talks for first time on how he dealt with US Open choke

Rory McIlroy is ready to put his disastrous U.S. Open defeat behind him.

McIlroy spoke at length for the first time Wednesday about how he overcame the disappointment of missing two short putts on the final three holes that denied him a win at Pinehurst and his first major championship in a decade.

“I was OK, I bounced back pretty quickly,” McIlroy told Sky Sports. “The next few days were pretty tough at times, but I think it was good that I tried to think rationally and constructively about it and take what I needed from it and learn from it.”

Rory McIlroy speaks to reporters for the first time since his loss at the U.S. Open. Getty Images

“Overall, it was a great day. I keep telling people it was a great day until it wasn’t. There were a few little things at the end that I’d like to take back. Overall, I can’t fault my play, my game plan or how I handled myself throughout the tournament.”

McIlroy was in a fierce battle with Bryson DeChambeau on Sunday at the U.S. Open, with the lead swapping in a dramatic final round.

But McIlroy took control and led by two strokes late in the round before missing short par putts on the 16th and 18th holes to give DeChambeau the victory.

“I remember definitely getting a little nervous on the 16th hole waiting for my second putt. It was a really tough last putt and I knew exactly where Bryson was off the tee,” McIlroy told reporters. “I knew I had to hit it really soft. If I was okay with being one stroke behind, I probably would have hit it harder, but I was kind of in two minds because I didn’t know if Bryson was going to get par. It was the type of putt where I had to make sure it didn’t go by 10 feet, even if it didn’t go in. There was a good chance it would have gone by 10 feet. Looking back, I think I was a little too conscious of where Bryson was and what he was doing.”

Rory McIlroy during a practice round at the Scottish Open on July 10, 2024. Getty Images

McIlroy left the North Carolina facility in high spirits after DeChambeau used a remarkable up-and-down technique on the final hole to seal the victory by one stroke.

The 35-year-old announced in a statement that he would be taking a break from the sport for a few weeks.

McIlroy returns on Thursday to defend his Scottish Open title before next week’s British Open at Troon, his final major of the season.

“It’s good to be back on the golf course this week and I’ve got a couple of good opportunities to get back to where I need to be and then I get to play at Troon next week,” McIlroy said.

The Northern Irishman was photographed enjoying some quality time off the course with wife Erica Stoll and their three-year-old daughter Poppy after repairing his marriage.

McIlroy was asked about the support he has received since the disappointment.

Rory McIlroy laughs with reporters. Getty Images
Rory McIlroy is the defending Scottish Open champion. Getty Images

“It’s been really nice having so many people reach out, both in and outside of the golf world and from other sports,” McIlroy said. “It’s also been really nice having the support from friends and family. I just feel like I’m surrounded by really good people. Sometimes you take it for granted and you feel like you don’t always need it, but when the situations are tough like they were on Sunday at Pinehurst, it’s really appreciated.”