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Rory's struggles and Scott's hot putter among golf's talking points

Rory McIlroy during the final round of the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club

Our review of the week in golf puts the focus on Rory McIlroy's struggles, Adam Scott's impressive putting, and the bizarre demise of a vital piece of etiquette. Here's our five main talking points from the golfing week ...

Concerns mounting for McIlroy?

Rory McIlroy has enjoyed, and endured, a vast array of emotions at the Honda Classic, and this year's appearance at PGA National was one of his most frustrating.

McIlroy claimed a memorable win on the Champions Course in 2012, but his defence of the title was marred with controversy after his infamous walk-off less than halfway through his opening round the following year.

McIlroy again had a tough time on the greens, and missed a par putt from two-and-a-half feet at the last
Image: Rory McIlroy again had a tough time on the greens, and his long game also looked suspect on day two

He hit back in 2014 but lost out to Russell Henley in a play-off, and he has now missed back-to-back cuts in the first event of the Florida Swing.

Much of the damage was done on Thursday, when he missed three putts from inside five feet including a par putt of barely two feet on the closing hole, and his much-revered iron game also deserted him on day two.

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McIlroy found water at two par-threes, the second resulting in a triple-bogey six that ruined a lot of hard graft earlier in his round, and a birdie at his last hole proved a mere consolation as he missed the cut by one stroke on four over.

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The world No 3 has bounced back from adversity before, but he now heads to Doral for the first WGC of the season short on confidence and needing to pull something special out of the bag if he is to make good on his vow to reclaim the world No 1 ranking sooner rather than later.

Scott banishes putting demons

Perhaps McIlroy should have a 'mindset discussion' with Adam Scott, who held off a valiant challenge from Sergio Garcia to win his first PGA Tour title since 2014 on Sunday.

When the ban on anchored putting was first announced, there were reports that the likes of Scott, Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley were considering legal action against the new regulations.

Victory was Adam Scott's first with the regular putter since the 2010 Singapore Open
Image: Adam Scott's win was his first with a regular putter since the 2010 Singapore Open

But Scott has spent much of the last 12 months working hard to find a technique that works for him, and his form with the flat stick over the early part of 2016 has been outstanding.

There were hints at Riviera that his new putting stroke could be fallible under pressure, but there was little sign of that in Florida as he collected the 12th PGA Tour title of his career.

The Australian is swinging the club as well as he ever has, and winning on one of the toughest layouts in the United States will do wonders for his self-belief in this season's majors and WGCs.

What happened to shouting "fore"?

While Scott and Garcia were rightly lauded for their excellent play at PGA National, they were also widely criticised for neglecting a tradition that seems to have fallen by the wayside in recent years - shouting "fore".

The final pairing on Sunday did not hit many wayward shots, but on the occasions they did stray offline there was little or no warning for the packed galleries outside the ropes up ahead.

Sergio Garcia of Spain hits his tee shot on the third hole during the final round of the Honda Classic at PGA Nation
Image: Sergio Garcia ran Scott close, although he was also guilty of failing to warn the gallery of imminent danger

This was no more evident than on the final hole of the tournament, when Garcia pulled his approach and bowed his head in defeat as his ball careered into the crowds.

Scott and Garcia are by no means the only offenders, and the practice of shouting "fore" followed by a directional indication of a stray strike is now seen all too rarely in professional golf.

The authorities have spent plenty of time focusing on how the pros get the ball in the hole, and surely it is now time to review the on-course etiquette for the protection of the paying public.

Fowler flawless, then fragile

Over the first two days of the Honda Classic, Rickie Fowler defied the odds to keep a bogey off his card and claim the halfway lead after two composed rounds of 66.

His response to his late errors in Phoenix was admirable as he became the only man in the field to go flawless for 36 holes, but Fowler lost his way on Saturday and, instead of four birdies and no bogeys, his card was completely the opposite.

Rickie Fowler: Honda Classic R2
Image: Rickie Fowler was flawless for 36 holes but fell away over the weekend

Fowler had a mixed bag of a 71 on the final day, mixing three birdies with another four bogeys, but the decline in the quality and consistency of his ball-striking was alarming - particularly when he carved back-to-back mid-irons into the water on the 11th and 12th.

The colourful American has been arguably the best player on the planet over the first two months of the year, and it remains to be seen how he deals with the setbacks of his last two outings.

But what is certain that he will put in the hard yards with coach Butch Harmon, and it will be a huge surprise if he is not contending for major honours over the remainder of the season.

Sweet-swinging double

While one major champion returned to winning ways in Florida, another did the same in Australia a few hours earlier as Louis Oosthuizen held off a superb late charge from Alexander Levy to win the ISPS Handa Perth International.

The 2010 Open hero showed no signs of the back problems that have afflicted him over the last couple of seasons, and his short-game was in fine order as well as he chalked up 21 birdies over the week at Lake Karrinyup.

Louis Oosthuizen acknowledges the gallery after completing his third round in Perth
Image: Louis Oosthuizen, like Scott, has one of the sweetest swings in golf and scored a popular win in Perth

Oosthuizen is managing his schedule very carefully this year in a bid to minimise the risk of further injury setbacks, and his swing remains one of the very best in the world game today.

With Scott and Oosthuizen victorious, it was definitely a week for the purists.

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