Rory McIlroy has been going through damage control the past five days after his abrupt departure when he was 7 over par through eight holes and decided to call it quits at the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
After an apology to Sports Illustrated, he faced the media Wednesday at Doral (Fla.) and took all the blame.
"In the long run, Friday will be a blessing in disguise," he said, referring to the day he withdrew. "It was like it just sort of released a valve, and all that pressure that I've been putting on myself just went away. And I was like, 'Just go out and have fun. It's not life or death out there. It's only a game.' I had sort of forgotten that this year."
At the time last week, he told reporters that his head was not in the right place and then issued a statement that his sore wisdom tooth made it difficult to concentrate.
Turns out the wisdom tooth wasn't the whole truth.
While McIlroy's behavior was questioned last week, it's his game that has been the most curious.
He played with Tiger Woods when both made their 2013 debut in Abu Dhabi, and McIlroy had rounds of 75-75 to miss the cut. Woods also missed the cut that week because of a two-shot penalty, though he flew halfway around the world the next week and won at Torrey Pines.
McIlroy had a sloppy performance on Dove Mountain (Ariz.) and lost in the first round of the Match Play Championship, and then made it through only 26 holes at PGA
His expectations for this week's Cadillac Championship?
"Just work on my swing," he said as he walked out the door after his news conference. "Try to get my swing back."
McIlroy dismissed suggestions that his new equipment deal added to the pressure. He signed with Nike for what is said to be upward of $20 million a year.
"It doesn't make a difference what deal or what clubs I play. That's irrelevant," McIlroy said. "It's about me on the golf course, and the expectations and the pressure that I put myself under."
He also said his poor play has nothing to do with his relationship with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.
"Just because I have a bad day on the golf course and Caroline loses a match in Malaysia, it doesn't mean that we're breaking up," he said with a laugh. "It's sport. And look, I'd rather keep my private life as private as possible. Everything on that front is great, and I'm looking forward to seeing her next week when she goes to Miami."
Wozniacki, in Indian Wells, also laughed off speculation that she and McIlroy were on the outs.
Woods can appreciate the scrutiny McIlroy faces. He also had some sound advice. Keep going.
"We play week after week," Woods said. "Once one week ends, you have to move on the next one. And we're on a different venue and different golf course. For me over the years, I've just put it aside and moved on, whether it was good or bad, whether I won the tournament or missed the cut, whatever it may be."