"You're really hoping for a three-putt" - Rory McIlroy admits wanting his opponents' game to falter at the 2023 US Open

123rd U.S. Open Championship - Final Round
Rory McIlroy hoped for his opponent to falter

It's never acceptable to root for someone's downfall on the golf course, but that might be what Rory McIlroy did at the closing of the US Open last weekend.

The four-time major champion finished his final round at nine under par. That had him trailing Wyndham Clark by a single shot.

Clark was in search of his first major title and came into the final hole only needing to par the 18th to come away with a win. Anything worse and he would have either gone to a playoff or lost to McIlroy.

It's one of golf's cardinal sins to cheer on the misfortune of others. At Augusta National, it's a rule that fans can't do that. Secretly, McIlroy might have been violating that unspoken rule on Sunday.

According to Golf Digest, McIlroy was wishing Clark would slip up just a bit:

"You don't want to wish bad on anyone, but you're really hoping for a three-putt. You're hoping to somehow get into a playoff to keep giving yourself a chance. You're rooting for one guy, and that guy is yourself at that point. Yeah, I guess you're just hoping for the other guy to slip up or make a mistake or give you a glimmer of hope."

Ultimately, Clark got to the putting green needing just two strokes to par and win the tournament. His first putt landed exceptionally close and his second one went right in, cementing his victory. McIlroy could only watch and hope at that point.

The Irishman won his fourth major title in 2014. He has not won one since and has come agonizingly close several times, so it's hard to blame him for wishing Clark would slip up and open the door.

He did not, and McIlroy was unable to come away with the $3.6 million prize and his fifth major. After the first putt, the golfer knew that Clark wasn't going to stumble, as he revealed to ESPN:

"I didn't even need to wait for the tap-in. It's just fine, fine margins at this level and at this tournament specifically, but I fought to the very end."

Rory McIlroy's fight was admirable, but it wasn't quite enough.

Rory McIlroy still searching for fifth major

After coming up agonizingly short, Rory McIlroy admitted he felt like he played well, just not quite well enough to win. He showed up nicely at the PGA Championship and this weekend after missing the cut at the Masters.

Rory McIlroy played well
Rory McIlroy played well

He said:

"The last real two chances I've had at majors, I feel like have been pretty similar performances. I played the way I wanted to play. There were just a couple of shots, two or three shots over the course of the round, that I'd like to have back."

It's going to be tough for him to move on from such a close loss, especially if he feels like he missed a shot or two at LACC.

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Edited by Yash Singh