Golfing world fears Rory McIlroy will be haunted after US Open slips from grasp

Rory McIlroy is likely to be haunted by letting the 2024 US Open at Pinehurst slip through his fingers, according to a number of high-profile experts, with his own coach questioning how he can bounce back from such a devastating loss.

Four birdies in the space of five holes from the ninth had given McIlroy a two-shot lead going into the final round in the hunt for his fifth major title and a first since 2014, only for the world number 3 to have three of the last bogeyed four holes.

That spell included missed par putts of two and a half feet at the 16th and 18th respectively, allowing Bryson DeChambeau to claim his second US Open title with a brilliant par save from a bunker on the latter.

Commenting for Sky Sports, six-time major winner Nick Faldo said: “That will haunt Rory for the rest of his life, those two misses.”

McIlroy did not speak to the media after finishing second at five under par. TV footage showed him watching the end of DeChambeau’s round from a recorder hut; When the winning putt fell, McIlroy swallowed, sighed deeply and immediately left the room and the course.

DeChambeau had expressed condolences for his defeated rival. ‘That he misses that putt [on 18]“I would never wish that on anyone,” DeChambeau said after a final round of 71 left him six under for the tournament, one shot ahead of McIlroy and two ahead of Patrick Cantlay and Tony Finau.

“I have nothing but respect for the way he plays the game of golf because, to be honest, when he moved up the rankings, he was two ahead and I was like, ‘Uh-oh, uh-oh.’ But luckily it went my way.”

Before the final few holes, the stats showed that McIlroy had not missed from within three feet during the tournament. In the aftermath of the putts on 16 and 18, Brad Faxon, McIlroy’s putting coach who worked as an analyst at NBC, echoed Faldo’s fears.

“No one has put more pressure on him in the last 10 years,” Faxon said. “Everyone in the world knows Rory hasn’t won a major since 2014. I think that’s how this happened: the short missed putts there on 16, especially on 18. I don’t know how you get through this. It’s really tough.”

Brandel Chamblee, the former US tour pro, added on NBC: “I can’t remember a higher quality player getting smaller in a big moment.”