Rory McIlroy had every chance of winning his second Open Championship, but Cameron Smith stole the show.

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Street. Andrews, Scotland – Proximity can be dangerous, and possibly very tempting. Rory McIlroy stayed at the Rusacks this week. One of the best hotels in town, overlooking the 18th hole in the old ballpark. There’s a balcony outside, and earlier this week, McIlroy pointed out where his family was staying in Tiger Woods. They waved to Bobby, McIlroy’s one-year-old daughter.

From his room at the Rusacks, McIlroy said he had a view of the open championship leaderboard on the far side of the first lane. When he peered over the painting, he was letting his mind wander. What would it be if he won the Old Course Open?

“I’m only human,” he said. “I am not a robot. Of course you think about it. At the beginning of the day [my name] He was at the top, but at the beginning of tomorrow, he won’t be. Of course you have to let yourself dream. You have to let yourself think about it and how it would be.”

Remember that human part. We will come back to that.

Rory McIlroy did not win the 150th Open. Cameron Smith did, which belies all that unscientific information that was referring to McIlroy winning this week. Manufactured very Lots of meaning.

He entered the day tied up with Victor Hovland and four others. But McIlroy’s racket never helped him, he didn’t make enough sparrows and signed with players under 70. The two lower rounds didn’t win Old Course slots—certainly not in the benign conditions players faced this week—which is why Smith pounced with an eight-under-64 and one-shot win over Cameron Young, who shot the 65. McIlroy finished alone in third, behind Smith.

He said, “I’ll be fine.” “At the end of the day, it’s not life or death. I’ll have other chances to win the Open Championship and other chances to win the majors. It’s something I feel I let slip by, but there will be other opportunities.”

Rory McIlroy’s racket went cold during the final round of The Open.

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On Sunday in St Andrews, the city’s bells ring. It is part of its charm. McIlroy said Saturday that he’s used to his mid-morning naps with these afternoon tee times. But one of the most important parts of his routine is leaving his phone away. This helps him prevent distractions. He hasn’t won a major in nearly eight years; He’s tried a lot of things to deal with nerves, thoughts, and over-analysis.

McIlroy has an interesting history here on the Old Course. In 2010, he opened with 63 hits, only to fire 17 worst hits on Friday (he said, when asked what happened next, when asked what happened next, he said when asked what happened next, when he was world number 1 hit 17) Friday hit his ankle in the infamous “kicking” with friends and had to pull out.

Now, seven years later, he is married and a father. In the years in between, he wrestled with fame, wrestled to prepare for the top players, and matured to become one of the most respected and influential players in golf. It was fitting to be in first place. Two days earlier, McIlroy had raced the fairway with Woods, who may have been playing in his Open Championship finals in St Andrews, and it looked as if the stage was now his own.

Showrooms were so pro McElroy that it was laughable, literally. Walking from the fourth tee, an audience of spectators laughed as one of the fans, during a quiet moment, shouted, “Let’s go, Victor!” After a roar of “Let’s go, Rory!” fill the air. Shall we go, Victor? Ha! What a gas!

“I thought the fans were great today,” McIlroy said. “I thought it was really good. Incredibly supportive of me, I wish I could have given them more to cheer them up.”

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Even when he started slowly, he was still the frontrunner and maintained the lead. Fans who didn’t follow him were waiting to see him along the stretch, standing in long lines to get to the hole-in-one bleachers to secure a view of Green No. 18. Fans without tickets crowded the fence at The Links, hoping to get close enough to peek at the scene.

Some of the tournament’s hospitality staff came down early Sunday, giving them a chance to catch a glimpse of this year’s golfer champ. Half a dozen young women in black pants and white shirts and gray aprons found a seat on the green railing, straining their necks to see the crowd. To their left, the R&A balcony was packed. Across the street people stood on the rooftops and peered out of the windows. They were ready.

This is where you need to be to see McIlroy win his fifth major and second Clarett Jug, end world hunger and drive the small town of St Andrews into a frenzy that lasts until morning. Or so they thought.

“He’s clearly on some nerves here,” said a spectator, after McIlroy missed a short birdie attempt in 3. And he remained tied for the lead with Hovland.

Three years ago, when McIlroy was the local favorite at the Royal Portrush, he made four times the first hole. He said he was so nervous when he raised his ball, his hand was trembling. “It came very quickly,” he said at the time.

On Sunday, he did not mention his temper. He said he tried to be as patient as possible and hit good shots. But none of them fell.

McIlroy was one up front and made the turn with a three, but Smith, playing in the forward pairing, opened his back nine with sparrows on 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14, with the fifth of those giving him the outright lead. Smith, one of the best running rackets on the tour, couldn’t miss it. McIlroy couldn’t buy a putt.

McIlroy fans freaked out about the Road Hole, the hard part of 4 17. Smith drove McIlroy, who flew tenth, with one, but Smith left himself a short-side pitch over the Road Hole bunker. It’s been ups and downs, even by Tour-pro standards. Smith chose to go around the bunker and leave himself 10 feet to keep his footing and keep his lead, and he drained it.

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McIlroy had the opportunity to steal a birdie at 17, but he wasted 15 feet two inches to the left. After Smith Bird took a short 18th – which was no surprise – McIlroy needed an eagle to force the playoff.

Young had just experienced a demon playing alongside Smith. it was possible.

There are few sights that compare to the 72nd hole in the open slot. The crowd floods the aisle. Huge terraces surround the green. It’s even better in St Andrews. The course is in the city, and the shops, towers and rooftops make it even bigger.

But McIlroy did not imagine this is It ended during all those dreamy mornings, as he woke up to the most famous track in the world outside his window.

After making seven straights, he chipped in the ramp on 18 and shot it well past the hole. I miss the bird game too. par

Kids lined up on the stage above the fan entrance, trying to get a top-five or a confession from McIlroy as he walked to the scoring tent. One of the men shouted, “Thank you, Rory! Well done! Thank you!” McIlroy paid him no attention.

Then he started the media tours. As McIlroy was going up the stairs for television interviews, Smith walked below him with a small entourage on his way to the 18th green for the winner’s party. Microphones crackle in the background. Then McIlroy met with the press.

“It’s been a good week overall,” he said, as R&A presented its newest golf champion of the year in the background. “I can’t be too despairing of how this year has gone and what this year has gone by. I play some of the best golf I’ve played in a long time. So it’s just a matter of continuing to knock on the door and eventually someone will open.”

Smith walked away from the 18th green reading of the names on the Claret Jug as McIlroy answered his last question in the interview. Standing in front of the media, he managed to let his guard down.

I’m just a human. I am not a robot.

McIlroy thanked reporters and left, his post-tour commitments completed. He disappeared behind the press area for a minute before reappearing to take a seat in the back of one of the golf carts that shuttled players back and forth. His wife Erica sat next to him.

McIlroy took off his hat and ran a hand through his hair. A few seconds felt like an eternity. This was his opening to the win. He buried his head in his arm and leaned into his wife’s shoulder. The carriage took off and disappeared around the corner.

Josh Beerhau

Golf.com Editor
Josh Berhow is Managing Editor at GOLF.com. This Minnesota-born graduated with a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University in Mankato. You can reach him at [email protected]

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