"It was a mistake," Rory McIlroy said about his abrupt withdrawal during last week's second round. The world No. 1 was 7-over par through eight holes. He was headed for another missed cut.
"Everyone makes mistakes. I'm learning from them. Some people have the pleasure of making their mistakes in private. Most of my mistakes are in the public eye."
Besides an aching wisdom tooth, Rory said his head wasn't right.
"I wasn't in a good place with my golf game. My head was all over the place. I realized pretty quickly that it wasn't the right thing to do. No matter how bad I was playing, I should have stayed out there.
"There's no excuse for quitting and it doesn't set a good example for the kids watching me. It wasn't good for a whole lot of reasons, for the tournaments, the people coming out watching me. I feel like I let a lot of people down with what I did last week. For that, I am very sorry.
"I learned that when the tough gets going, I've got to stick in there a bit more and I've got to grind it out."
Rory also said there's no problem with his Nike equipment or his tennis-star girlfriend. His swing, however, has given him fits lately. He's working on it.
McIlroy will be grouped with Tiger Woods and Luke Donald in the first two rounds of the WGC-Cadillac Championship, which begins on Thursday at TPC Blue Monster.
"It's not life or death out there," he added. "It's only a game. I had sort of forgotten that this year. I've got to remember I started to play golf because I love it. I've got four rounds, thankfully. I haven't been enjoying it because I've been putting so much pressure on myself. I have to go out there and enjoy myself."