There were four key moments for Rory McIlroy that led to his stunning loss in the final round of the 124th U.S. Open at Pinehurst. Let's take a look at them.

Rory McIlroy has undoubtedly been one of the most successful players in all of professional golf, for quite some time. There’s no arguing that. But what happened to him Sunday at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst was just the latest in a string of heartbreaking losses.

We’ll get to those heartbreaking moments in a minute, but first, it’s important to note just how successful Rory McIlroy has been. Here’s a look at some of his notable accomplishments:

  • Top 10 finishes in each of the last five U.S. Opens;
  • Four-time major winner (2011 U.S. Open, 2012 PGA Championship, 2014 Open Championship, 2014 PGA Championship);
  • 26 career PGA Tour wins, including two in 2024;
  • Second-ranked golfer in the world behind Scottie Scheffler;
  • Over $90 million in career winnings on the course.

You could honestly keep going on that list for quite a while. But you get the idea.

And before we get to what happened with McIlroy, it’s important to give the 2024 champion Bryson DeChambeau a lot of credit here. His miraculous save from near-certain disaster on 18 clinched the win. Yes, he needed some help down the stretch to even be in that position, but it still takes a lot to win the U.S. Open, and he did it.

Rory McIlroy and His Close Calls

McIlroy has been close a lot lately. He had a chance to win the U.S. Open in 2023, but ultimately ended one shot back of Wyndham Clark. In 2022, he was tied for the lead going into the final round of the British Open, before falling to third. He also finished second in the 2022 Masters, but Scottie Scheffler wasn’t going to be caught there.

Eleven times in his career, McIlroy has finished as a runner-up in a tournament. Another 11 times, he’s finished third. He’s had a whopping 78 top-5 finishes, and 123 top 10s! Yes, in 252 events, he’s finished in the top 10 123 times.

But like we said, Sunday’s DeChambeau win doesn’t happen without some help. And Rory gave him a lot of that. There were a lot of moments that could have made a difference during the tournament, but there were five in particular that stood out on Sunday. So we’re going to take a look here at the four moments that ultimately cost Rory McIlroy the 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst.

  • 1. Bogey on the 5th

    The par-5 fifth hole was a nearly must-birdie hole on Sunday, as it was the most likely place to have that happen. And a beautiful drive from McIlroy set up an incredible second shot that could have set him up for an eagle putt.

    Instead, disaster struck. The second shot eeked along the edge of a steep drop on the green, and never made it quite over the hump. It rolled all the way back off, into a terrible lie on the native rough.

    Still, from there an up-and-down would leave a birdie putt. But an up-and-down from that lie wasn’t going to happen. The third shot skipped across the top of the bunker but rolled right back into it.

    A clunky pitch out of the bunker led to a barely missed par putt and a bogey. It was so close to being a shot at an eagle, and instead, it was a stroke lost.

  • 2. Bogey on the 15th

    After birdies on 9, 10, 12 and 13, suddenly Rory was in the mix in a big way, leading by two. That’s when one of the trickiest par 3s in the world struck.

    McIlroy picked the wrong club, and clunked his tee shot over the green. His second shot was fast and left a long putt for par. It didn’t fall, and his two-shot lead was down to one.

  • 3. Bogey on the 16th

    McIlory was able to regain his composure on the tee on 16. He drove perfectly into the fairway, and his second shot left him in a good position to at least two-putt for par.

    That’s when the unthinkable happened. An unthinkable 496 times before the 16th hole, Rory McIlroy had made every putt inside of 3 feet this year. But from 2 feet, 6 inches away, McIlroy missed and suddenly the tournament was tied again.

  • 4. Bogey on 18th

    As if the unthinkable miss on 16 wasn’t bad enough, then came 18.

    McIlroy started with a drive into the native rough, which left him a difficult second shot. He did manage to save fairly decently into the area in front of the green.

    An up-and-down from there would leave him with a par and a one-shot lead with DeChambeau playing the 18th. And Rory stuck the landing with his approach, leaving him just under 4 feet for par.

    It’s important to note that this wasn’t just a random putt from 4 feet. There’s a dramatic slope on the 18th green at Pinehurst No. 2, and after an exhausting 72 holes, it takes everything in you to read that and make it. Most of us reading this would be 50-50 at BEST on that putt.

    Unfortunately for McIlroy, it was a miss, a bogey, and it left the door open for DeChambeau to have his hero moment on 18. Which he took.

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