Recent Tour Withdrawals Provoke Frustration And Disappointment
THIS is a time when golf needs leaders, on the course and off it.
Rory McIlroy has been a valued mouthpiece for the PGA Tour and he generally talks a great deal of common sense but am I the only person who struggled to find too much sympathy for him when he finally gave his reasons for failing to play in the RBC Heritage in April?
In effect, he let down the fans at Harbour Town purely and simply because he missed the cut at The Masters, the tournament he needs to win to complete the career grand slam.
He said that the missed cut “sucked” and was the final straw for him after 12 months in which he led the PGA Tour’s fight against the LIV Golf rebellion. McIlroy claimed he had no option but to pull out of the RBC Heritage the week after The Masters to protect his mental well-being.
Sorry? First of all, nobody has forced McIlroy to be the man who speaks for his peers. It was his choice. Furthermore, the RBC Heritage was one of the tour’s designated events - he was one of the men who helped to set the rules and the rules dictate that the elite golfers can miss one of these tournaments. He had already sat out the Tournament of Champions.
Every year ahead of The Masters, McIlroy tells us he has found the key. His disappointment is understandable - he wants to win this event very badly.
He said: “I was ready to play all the way through but I would have been doing myself a disservice and doing the people around me a disservice. I needed a break for me.”
(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)
So instead of playing at the RBC, he went to New York with his wife Erica and enjoyed being a tourist, rather than a golfer.
He said that he needed time away to put behind him the disappointment of his Masters performance.
“Honestly, I thought I was going to have the best Masters I have ever had,” he said. “That’s not the right mindset to have. You need to be thinking about the present moment.
“It was nice to have three weeks to put that stuff in the rear-view mirror and focus on what’s ahead.”
But let’s get something straight - he originally withdrew from the RBC without giving any reason. There was no thought for the fans who were looking forward to seeing him play. And that simply isn’t good enough.
And speaking of withdrawals I also have to say that I haven’t been impressed by a spat that developed in the women’s game last week. Georgia Hall and Charley Hull withdrew from the International Crown, a team event at which they were meant to be representing their country alongside Bronte Law and Jodi Ewart Shadoff.
Hull cited illness, while Hall said she had an ankle injury that required rest.
Law was extremely angry, claiming that she only heard the news from other players.
She said: "I think anyone with some level of decency would send their team-mates a message that they weren't coming, not find out from other players on Tour who have heard things from them saying things at the tournament last week. I don't think that that's a lot to ask for."
Ewart Shadoff said: “Obviously it's disappointing, especially to come so late. I'm sure it's disappointing mainly for [tournament sponsor] Hanwha.
"I think what they've done for the tournament and to bring it back, we're all just really grateful to be here."
Hull and Hall both featured in the previous weekend's LA Championship, with Hall finishing tied 44th and Hull tied 17th.
In a statement both players said they were "really sorry" to miss the event at TPC Harding Park.
What on earth happened to picking up a telephone and speaking to their teammates?
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