Tough Day for Rory

After leading or sharing the lead for most of the tournament, Rory McIlroy found out - painfully - what can happen in the final round of the Masters.

After playing the front nine in 1-over par, the 21-year-old from Northern Ireland suffered a complete collapse on the back side, carding a 7-over 43 for a disappointing 8-over 80. He fell from first all the way down the leaderboard into a tie for 15th at 4-under 284.

Though disappointed, the youngster still had the poise to meet with reporters after his round. Here's what McIlroy had to say.

Q. Rory, can you put your finger on what happened to your comfort level today because you had it so beautifully under control for three rounds?

RORY McILROY: Yeah, I mean, I thought I hung in pretty well the front nine today. I was leading the tournament going into the back nine. Just hit a poor tee shot on 10 and I just sort of unraveled from there, just sort of lost it 10, 11, 12, and couldn't really get it back. It's one of those things. You know, I'm very disappointed at the minute, and I'm sure I will be for the next few days, but I'll get over it. I've got to take the positives, and the positives were I led this golf tournament for 63 holes. You know, I'll have plenty more chances. I know that. It's very disappointing what happened today. Hopefully it'll build a little bit of character in me, as well.

Q. I know one thing about you, at 21 years old you have a head that's a lot wiser than that on your shoulders and you're a very, very quick learner. You learned from the British Open last year and you came back here and played beautifully. Do you have any idea at the moment what you might learn from today?

RORY McILROY: Not at this point. If I reflect on it over the next few days I'll probably be able to tell you a little bit better. You know, I can't really put my finger on it. I lost a lot of confidence in my putting around the turn. I didn't really get anything going and was sort of second-guessing lines and second-guessing my speed, and on these greens you can't do that.

Q. How do you describe how you're feeling? RORY McILROY: I'm very disappointed. You know, I was leading this golf tournament with nine holes to go, and I just unraveled. Hit a bad tee shot on 10, and then never, never really recovered. You know, it's going to be hard to take for a few days, but I'll get over it. I'm fine. A couple of pretty good friends were in a similar position to me last year in Dustin Johnson and Nick Watney. I knew it was going to be very tough for me out there today, and it was. I felt good that I hung in well for the first nine holes, and then as I said, just sort of lost my speed on the greens, lost my line, lost everything for just two, three holes, 10, 11, 12, and couldn't really recover after that.

Q. If you could pinpoint, what was the turning point, because you seemed rock steady.

RORY McILROY: Yeah, probably the tee shot on 10. I felt comfortable on that tee shot all week, and for some reason I just started it a little left of where I wanted to, hit that tree, and I don't think anyone's been over there in those cabins before (laughing). Yeah, the 7 on 10 just sort of derailed me a little bit and it was hard to get back.

Q. There was an image of you on 13 tee after you hit the ball left where you just sort of dropped your head. As honest as you can be, what's going through your mind at that moment?

RORY McILROY: What was I at that point, 5-under par? I'd sort of realized -- unless I birdied my way in, I realized I didn't have a chance. I was trying my hardest, but if I had have birdied 13, tried to birdie 14, birdied 15, birdied my way in, but once I hit that tee shot left on 13, I realized that was it.

Q. What will you learn from today?

RORY McILROY: I think it's a Sunday at a major, what it can do. This is my first experience at it, and hopefully the next time I'm in this position I'll be able to handle it a little better. I didn't handle it particularly well today obviously, but it was a character building day, put it that way. I'll come out stronger for it.

Q. In the morning leading into the round, how were you?

RORY McILROY: I was fine. I was confident. I hit the ball well on the range. You know, I can't really -- actually I played okay the front nine. A couple of putts didn't drop, but I hung in there, I had a one-shot lead going down 10. And when you have a one-shot lead going into the back nine of the Masters, you can't be doing that much wrong.

Q. When you were standing between those cabins, what were you thinking then?

RORY McILROY: I was just trying to chip it out, trying to get it somewhere around the green and up-and-down it for bogey. I thought bogey was the best I could do, and I just hit it in a pretty tricky spot for my third shot. Just tried to be a little too cute with the fourth and hit the tree and ricocheted and came back on it. One of those things.

The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.

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