LYTHAM ST. ANNES, ENGLAND - For the second year in a row, Rory McIlroy is walking away from the British Open with a swollen score and a bruised ego.
McIlroy, ranked second in the world going into the tournament, showed promise with an opening-round 67, but didn't come close to threatening 70 in the last three trips and finished 8-over for the championship.
He's missed the cut in three of his last four starts on the PGA Tour and another on the European Tour before finishing 10th at the Irish Open a couple of weeks ago.
"I think the thing for me is to stay patient. If it doesn't happen over the next couple of weeks, no big deal. It's a 20-year career so I'm not going to get too wound up just over a few weeks," said the 23-year-old. "I've got to keep working away, plugging away, working hard and working on the right things and eventually it will come around."
McIlroy hit just 42 of 72 greens for the week and 29 of 56 fairways.
Since winning the U.S. Open last year in spectacular fashion, McIlroy is now a combined plus-41 for 18 rounds in majors. He's finished tied for 25th, tied for 64th, tied for 40th, missed the cut at last month's U.S. Open and was tied for 60th Sunday.
McIlroy said his confidence is in short supply. If that's the case, a course like Royal Lytham & St. Annes isn't where you are going to find it.
"Maybe major championships on the toughest courses exposes a few weaknesses that you have there. I mean, (Royal) Portrush (where the Irish Open was played) was a pretty gentle course in terms of what we're facing this week," he said, "so when you see heavy rough on the left and bunkers on the right, you start thinking about that a little bit if you're not confident about what you're doing."