Mar 1 2013
Defending champion Rory McIlroy has pulled out of the Honda Classic at Palm Beach Gardens after making a wretched start to his second round.
The Northern Irishman, ranked number one in the world, began on the back nine and played his opening eight holes of the round in seven over par.
He then found water at the 18th - his ninth hole - and immediately quit the tournament, the PGA Tour announced.
McIlroy, who had a level-par 70 on Thursday, was set to miss the cut after his flurry of dropped shots before deciding enough was enough. He had double-bogeyed the 11th, taken a seven at the par-four 16th, and also given shots away at the 13th and 17th holes.
The 23-year-old has struggled to rediscover the form that has elevated him to the top of the world rankings so far in 2013, highlighted by his first-round exit at the Accenture Match Play Championship to Ireland's Shane Lowry last week.
He signed a lucrative sponsorship deal with Nike last month and his performances with the manufacturer's clubs have been below expectations.
McIlroy, who also missed the cut at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship by four shots last month, blamed toothache for pulling out.
His statement on pgatour.com said: "I sincerely apologise to the Honda Classic and PGA Tour for my sudden withdrawal. I have been suffering with a sore wisdom tooth, which is due to come out in the near future. It began bothering me again last night, so I relieved it with Advil.
"It was very painful again this morning, and I was simply unable to concentrate. It was really bothering me and had begun to affect my playing partners.
"I came here with every intention of defending my Honda Classic title. Even though my results haven't revealed it, I really felt like I was rounding a corner. This is one of my favourite tournaments of the year and I regret having to make the decision to withdraw, but it was one I had to make."