The European Tour confirmed what we already knew yesterday; Rory McIlroy will contest this year’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club to the east of Edinburgh, being held from July 11-14.
McIlroy broke Irish hearts in February when he voiced his intention to give this year’s Irish Open at Lahinch a miss in order to best prepare for a once in a lifetime Open championship opportunity at Royal Portrush this summer.
And while the scars of that break-up still run deep after all McIlroy and the Irish Open have been through together, there was still a touch of affection on display yesterday as McIlroy’s voice was a notable absence from the European Tour’s exciting announcement.
McIlroy is like the ex we all need; keeping his courting to a merciful minimum as the rest of us cry quietly into our pillows hoping his absence is all a dream. After breaking the news to tournament host Paul McGinley that ‘it’s not you, it’s me’, the 30-year-old could’ve changed his relationship status to single, asked Nike to send in some smaller sized tee-shirts and announced himself back on the global market as this island’s green-eyed monster looked on in dismay.
‘What does Scotland have that we don’t? Will Scotland make you smile like we did in Straffan on that most perfect day in 2016 where we embraced you as our hero when you stole our hearts as an Irish Open champion? You’ll rue the day you ever turned your back on us.’
But will he?
If I mulled over a decision for as long as McIlroy did to eventually break up with a girl who meant so much for so long, and then woke the next morning to eight thousand text messages from her, her family and her great aunt Sheila twice removed, telling me what a curly-haired **** I was, good riddance and she’ll be better off without me, I’d be feeling quite vindicated in my choice.
In fact, I’d feel so justified that I’d probably head straight to Copper Face Jacks and queue up until the club opened before parading myself with a big, blinking green light on my back telling the world I’m open for business.
Rory gets a lot of stick for his apparent terminal verbal diarrhoea but in this case, whether he was advised to keep quiet or whether it was something he did off his own accord, he comes across extremely respectful.
“Looking forward to it,” was the height of his comments on the announcement on Twitter, whereby comparison, Ian Poulter’s participation in the Irish Open was unveiled with a one-minute parody video featuring Lahinch’s job-threatened post man – Poulter’s Ryder Cup points delivery service long recoginsed as the best around.
We knew yesterday’s release was incoming, exactly when we weren’t quite sure but even though McIlroy hasn’t been flaunting his fairway frolicking in front of us, his presence in the arms of another was enough to remind my heart I still care.
‘You’re getting a great guy Scotland. Appreciate him. Treat your ears to the crisp sound of his strike and internally record it so you can play it on repeat until the end of time. I knew Rory was great, but I guess I didn’t realise just how great until he was gone.’