Rory McIlroy to Skip Race to Dubai and Conclude Season Early
Rory McIlroy has confirmed that his 2017 season will conclude earlier than originally planned, with the Northern Irishman set to pass on competing in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai finale later in the autumn.
Ahead of the Northern Trust – the first of four FedEx Cup playoff events – the former world number one revealed that after playing in the PGA Tour’s showpiece month of lucrative tournaments, he will make a welcome return to the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland before closing his year of competitive golf and looking to complete rehabilitation of the rib injury that has blighted his form.
“I'm OK to play these next four out of five weeks,” the 28-year-old said. “But then I do need a prolonged period off at some point in 2017 to be ready for 2018.”
This comes a fortnight after the four-time major champion speculated – following the PGA Championship – that he may not play on tour again until next season. His appearance in the financially eye-watering throughout the next few weeks – which he won 12 months ago – ended the notion of that potentially immediate absence, but this latest scheduling plan comes as a blow to the European Tour, but will delight fans at St. Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, who will catch a glimpse of the Ulsterman in action.
Explaining to Michael Collins of ESPN, McIlroy said: “I feel like I'm going to have a good bit of time at the end of the year to work on my fitness, to work on my game. Guys who play both tours, you don't get this opportunity to take a couple of months off and really work on what you need to work on, on your game -- a real and proper offseason. Like every other sport has, basically. I'm excited for that.”
Golf’s unrelenting grind of tournaments across the calendar has added to the workload of players looking to navigate an international schedule, impacting on recovery and time away from the game. Though he will miss the upcoming crescendo in Dubai, the Grand Slam seeking McIlroy would step back into the spotlight for January’s Middle East swing.
Winless in 2017, the world number four’s chances of rectifying disappointment that have now been reduced, but he clearly feels that the best approach is to ensure that he is set for next year and weld together a programme of significant and consistent preparation ahead of April’s Masters Tournament.
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