PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Jack Nicklaus says there's no reason to be alarmed: Rory McIlroy is probably frustrated with his game and his adjustment to new equipment.
McIlroy, the No. 1 player in the world and defending champion at the Honda Classic, caused a stir this week when he walked off the course after eight holes at PGA National when he was 7 over for the second round. He told reporters he was "not in a good place mentally," and an hour later issued a statement attributing his withdrawal to a sore wisdom tooth.
He signed with Nike during the offseason. In three starts this year, McIlroy has missed the cut, lost in the opening round of the Match Play Championship and withdrew from the Honda Classic after 26 holes.
"Rory is so talented," Nicklaus said during a visit to the NBC Sports booth at the Honda Classic. "He's a good kid. I think he's a little frustrated, and he's frustrated at himself right now. He's probably not playing his best, and he also has a set of golf clubs that he's having trouble getting used to, and one sort of plays off the other. He'll be fine. When Augusta rolls around, he'll be fine."
McIlroy plays out of The Bear's Club, which Nicklaus built as his home club for South Florida. The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland seeks advice from Nicklaus whenever he sees him. Nicklaus said he last spoke to McIlroy last Monday.
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