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By Andrew Both
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy said on Sunday that he needed to rectify his driving woes to regain his mojo after a frustrating performance at the PGA Championship.
McIlroy, an emphatic winner at Kiawah Island in the 2012 PGA Championship, never got off the launch pad on his return nine years later. He has been stuck on four major titles since 2014.
The Northern Irishman was playing catch-up after an opening 75 and a combination of inconsistent driving and mediocre putting prevented him from ever making a run at the leaders.
He was particularly poor on the par-fives, usually his bread and butter, playing them just about as poorly as anyone in the field, two-over par in total.
"I just haven't driven the ball as well as I know that I can for a long time and that's really the foundation of my game, I guess, and once I'm driving it well everything becomes so much easier," he said after shooting 72 to finish on five-over 293.
"Probably haven't driven the ball like myself since 2019, so I need to figure it out."
The 32-year-old added that he was neither satisfied with his swing nor the driver itself, saying his problems were a little bit of both.
The final few holes were a microcosm of McIlroy's week.
He was frequently bamboozled by the putting surfaces, as he made clear after missing a 10-foot birdie at the 15th by standing on the green for a long time looking puzzled.
As McIlroy waited on the 17th tee, a spectator yelled out, "Liverpool won by the way to make the Champions League", a comment ignored by the player, a Manchester United fan.
Shortly afterwards, a large alligator briefly surfaced in the pond adjacent to the 17th green, gliding across the water before disappearing as McIlroy pondered a bunker shot.
He saved par there but a pulled drive on 18 prompted him to hit his club against a tee marker, although not hard enough to break either.
"The par-fives were a killer," McIlroy said in summing up his week. "I really put myself behind the eight-ball with that.
"And then I actually felt like I putted okay the first couple of days and then just over the weekend I started to miss a few. I started to over-read them a little bit and was sort of questioning my reads. A little bit of indecisiveness crept in."
(Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Ken Ferris)