Saturday, 26 November 2011

McIlroy Struggles with Irish Open

Rory McIlroy has a dilemma to overcome after the Irish Open was moved to the same week as the US Tour event at Congressional.

McIlroy is torn after the European Tour switched Ireland's biggest golfing week from its traditional slot a fortnight after the Open to three weeks before the year's third major to avoid a clash with the 2012 London Olympics.

And that means the June 28-July 1 tournament in Ireland is now on in the same week as the AT&T Championship at Congressional, the venue where McIlroy came of age by destroying the field in last year's US Open.

"I haven't made a decision yet as to where I am going to play that week," he said at the World Cup on Wednesday.

"That stretch between the US Open and the Open is the only stretch in the first part of next year I have not decided on.

"I don't know what will work better for me; playing links golf before the Open or playing in the French Open or the Scottish Open.

"It's a tough one and I know I need to decide what I am going to do because the people in Ireland want to see me play in the Irish Open and if I don't play I know there will be a lot of comment.

"I am very conscious that the Irish Open needs home-grown support. It needs that support to guarantee the future, but then again Congressional will always have so many happy memories for me.

"It's something I know I have to decide on."

Something McIlroy did confirm was that he will get his 2012 season underway by joining Tiger Woods and Jason Day at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

His first tournament in the United States on his return as a full PGA Tour member will be in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship starting on February 20.

And McIlroy has also announced a 2011 pre-Christmas schedule which will see him playing again in next week's UBS Hong Kong before being joined by new girlfriend, Caroline Wozniacki, the World No 1 women's tennis ace at the following week's Dubai World Championship.

McIlroy will next contest the Thailand Golf Championship in Bangkok on December 15, his final event of the year.

But his busy travel schedule won't end there.

He has to be in Manchester on December 22 for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards and will spend Christmas with his family in Ireland before travelling with them on a family holiday to Thailand.