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Rory McIlroy lipped out his putt to force a playoff, but Rahm said it was much harder than it looked

There has been a wave of critics who believe Rory McIlroy just had to hit those putts down the stretch of his epic collapse at the U.S. Open this past week.

But Jon Rahm, the LIV Golf star, came to McIlroy’s defense and pointed blame at the golf announcers calling the tournament, who he believes “severely underplayed” the difficulty McIlroy faced on his tournament-losing 18th hole putt.

Rahm spoke to Sports Illustrated where he said bluntly the announcers did not help matters.

Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy laugh
Jon Rahm of Spain and Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland shake hands on the 18th green following their round on Day One of the DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates on November 16, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

“One of the things that absolutely burned me, and I think was (NBC’s) Smylie (Kaufman) who said it, he severely underplayed how difficult Rory’s putt on 18 was,” Rahm, who didn’t participate in the U.S. Open due to an infection in his foot.

“When he said it’s a left-center putt, if you hit that putt left-center and miss the hole, you’re off the green because of how much slope there is. You could see Rory aiming at least a cup left from three feet. They severely underplayed how difficult that putt was. Severely.”

At the same time, though, Rahm knew that the commentary on the course couldn’t have been too detailed considering they weren’t playing the course.

“I think that can happen a few times where, unless you’ve been there on the golf course and you’re playing it or you’ve played it, it’s hard to truly explain how difficult the golf course can be, and a lot of times they only have those five seconds to say something quickly, so I also don’t blame them.”

But, when a commentator says it’s a left-center putt from three feet away, a golf fan is going to expect it to fall 100 times out of 100. McIlroy, though, saw his putt snap to the right and lip out.

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts after finishing the 18th hole during the final round of the 124th U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort on June 16, 2024 in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

It was his third bogey in four holes, with an even shorter putt missed on the 16th hole.

McIlroy has since said that he’s taking a brief hiatus from golf after losing by one stroke to Bryson DeChambeau at Pinehurst No. 2.

“Yesterday was a tough day, probably the toughest I’ve had in my nearly 17 years as a professional golfer. Firstly, I’d like to congratulate Bryson. He is a worthy champion and exactly what professional golf needs right now. I think we can all agree on that,” McIlroy wrote in a statement on X.

“As I reflect on my week, I’ll rue a few things over the course of the tournament, mostly the 2 missed putts on 16 and 18 on the final day. But, as I always try to do, I’ll look at the positives of the week that far outweigh the negatives.

Captain Jon Rahm, of Legion XIII GC, hits from the sixth tee during the final round of LIV Golf Miami at Trump National Doral, Sunday, April 7, 2024, in Doral, Fla. (Chris Trotman/LIV Golf via AP)

“I’m going to take a few weeks away from the game to process everything and build myself back up for my defense of the Genesis Scottish Open and The Open at Royal Troon. See you in Scotland.”

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Scott Thompson is a sports writer for Fox News Digital.

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