The four-time Major winner has confirmed that he will miss the Irish Open for the first time since 2007
Rory McIlroy To Miss Irish Open
Rory McIlroy has confirmed that he is skipping this year's Irish Open to help keep him fresh ahead of what is the 'biggest event of his life' at the Open in his home country of Northern Ireland.
It was already thought that the four-time Major winner would be skipping his home Open (Ireland/Northern Ireland play under the same golfing union) and this is now confirmed.
The Irish Open comes two weeks before The Open, with the Scottish Open in between.
Rory will play in Scotland this year at the Renaissance Club as he is playing the week before Majors in 2019.
McIlroy told BBC Northern Ireland, "If there is ever a year when I feel I can miss this Irish Open, it's this year.
"If I was to play the Irish Open, The Open Championship would be my third event in a row.
"For me, that's not the best way to prepare for what could be the biggest event of my life.
McIlroy had previously hosted the Irish Open from 2015-2018 and won the title in 2016 at the K Club.
This will be the first year since 2007 that he hasn't played in the tournament.
This year's event is hosted by Paul McGinley and takes place at Lahinch Golf Club in Co. Clare.
McIlroy says he isn't "belittling" or "discrediting" the event by skipping it.
"I love the Irish Open. I've supported it in my whole career," he told BBC Northern Ireland.
"The people of Ireland are still going to see me playing golf because I'm going to play The Open Championship and I'm sure a lot of people will travel from down south to see me play.
"I'm sure people are going to be upset but at the same time, if it means that it gives me a better chance to win The Open, and prepare well for Portrush, I'm going to do it.
"I'm going to make decisions that are the best thing for me. If that upsets anyone, then I'm sorry - that's not my problem, that's their problem.
"If I could pick one tournament to win this year, it would be Portrush. I would definitely have Augusta on the backburner.
"I never thought I would play a major in Northern Ireland. It would be the biggest achievement of my career if I was able to win it."
The Open returns to Royal Portrush this year for the first time since 1951.
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Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Titleist TSR4
3 wood: Titleist TSi2 HL
Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
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