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Home Sports For his \”mental and emotional wellbeing,\” Rory McIlroy needed a break from golf

For his \”mental and emotional wellbeing,\” Rory McIlroy needed a break from golf

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Rory McIlroy’s disappointing performance at the Masters left him needing to take a break from the game for his “mental and emotional wellbeing”, but the world No 3 has said he is ready to return to the Tour with renewed focus for the year’s remaining majors.

McIlroy was looking to become the sixth player to complete a career grand slam at Augusta, but missed the cut by two shots. He then withdrew from the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, a decision which cost him $3m and drew plenty of criticism from his fellow professionals.

McIlroy told the Golf Channel he needed the time away from golf. “Obviously, after the disappointment of Augusta, and it’s been a pretty taxing 12 months mentally, so it was nice to just try to disconnect and get away from it,” he said. “But it’s nice to come back and feel refreshed and I think we’re on a pretty busy run here from now until after the playoffs so I’m excited to get going.

“I think it was a combination of a few things, and just after the disappointment of Augusta and how I played there, it was just more for my mental and emotional wellbeing I just needed to be at home for those few weeks but, as I said, looking forward to getting back this week,” added the 33-year-old, who will return at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow in North Carolina, a venue where he has won three times.

Withdrawing at Hilton Head meant he had missed his second “designated event” of the year on the PGA Tour. “We certainly have our minimums, we signed up for this designated-event series this year,” McIlroy said. “I knew the consequences that could come with missing one of those. It was an easy decision, but I felt like, if that fine or whatever is to happen, [it] was worth that for me in order to get some things in place. I had my reasons not to play Hilton Head. I expressed those to Jay [Monahan, the PGA Tour commissioner] and whether he thinks that is enough to warrant … look, again, I understood the consequences of that decision before I made it. So whatever happens, happens.”

McIlroy revealed he had allowed himself to think about his prospects of becoming just the sixth player to have won all four major titles after shooting five under par on the back nine of his Wednesday practice round at Augusta. “Me thinking that way isn’t a good thing,” the four-time major winner said. “All I should be thinking about is that first shot on Thursday. You need to stay in the present moment and I feel like at Augusta I didn’t quite do a good job of that because of how well I came in playing. I maybe got ahead of myself a little bit.” Describing his performance, McIlroy added: “It sucked. It sucked.

“It’s not the performance I thought I was going to put up. Nor was it the performance I wanted. Just incredibly disappointing. But I needed some time to regroup and focus on what’s ahead. It’s been a big 12 months and I don’t know if I fully reflected on stuff. I never really got a chance to really think about the Open and St Andrews [where he was joint leader after 54 holes but finished two behind winner Cameron Smith] and everything that went on there. It was nice to have three weeks to just put all that stuff in the rear view mirror and just try to focus on what’s ahead.”

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What is ahead includes the US PGA Championship later this month and July’s Open Championship at Hoylake, where McIlroy lifted the Claret Jug in 2014. He hopes he will now be able to expend less energy on his role as an unofficial spokesperson for the PGA Tour in its battle against LIV Golf as the season progresses.

“I wasn’t gassed because of the golf, I was gassed because of everything that we’ve had to deal with in the golf world over the past 12 months and being right in the middle of it and being in that decision-making process,” McIlroy explained. “I’ve always thought I’ve had a good handle on the perspective of things and where golf fits within my life, but I think over the last 12 months I’d lost sight of that, lost sight of the fact that there’s more to life than the golf world and this silly little squabble that’s going on between tours.”

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