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abandon ship

U.S. Open 2024: Rory McIlroy’s plane was in the air heading to Florida less than an hour after Bryson’s final putt dropped

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Getty Images/radaratlas2

After winning his second U.S. Open, Bryson DeChambeau wouldn’t leave Pinehurst No. 2. He trotted around with the trophy, signed everything he could and even filmed perhaps the best "Live From" segment of all time. On the exact other end of the spectrum was Rory McIlroy, who was in the air, flying away from North Carolina, less than an hour after the final putt dropped.

“Rory McIlroy's plane #N585RM left #Pinehurst at 7:29 pm and is headed back home to West Palm Beach, FL,” radaratlas2 reported. The Northern Irishman got out of dodge and then some after yet another close call.

“Within seven minutes of Bryson DeChambeau’s ball landing in the cup, the ripping sound of tires skirting on pavement whipped through Pinehurst Resort as Rory McIlroy’s courtesy Lexus SUV pulled out of his 2011 U.S. Open champion parking place and drove away from the day he’ll never escape,” wrote Brody Miller of The Athletic.

“The U.S. Open ended at 6:38 p.m. At 7:29 p.m., McIlroy’s Gulfstream 5 took off, leaving the Sandhills of North Carolina without his fifth major championship but with the collapse that will define him forever.”

We don’t necessarily blame McIlroy. Sometimes you have to just abandon ship, especially if the ship is sinking due to multiple missed putts on a Sunday at the U.S. Open, but it just goes to show you how much can change in a matter of minutes. Less than two hours earlier, the four-time major winner had a two-stroke lead at Pinehurst with a handful of holes left. Just a few swings later, he was in the air heading to West Palm Beach … trophyless.

Golf is cruel and unforgiving. This seemed unusually so.

McIlroy is still in the field for the upcoming Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut. It’s still unclear if he’ll try to bounce back this week, but we do know his private jet is ready to go and has the quickest of turnaround times.