Rory McIlroy has confirmed he intends to compete the week following this year’s US Open and also in the week prior to the Irish Open with confirmation he is the first player to commit to the 2022 Travelers Championship.
News of McIlroy’s fourth visit to the TPC River Highlands course in Connecticut was confirmed by event organisers.
“Having a commitment from a player the calibre of Rory this early sets the tone for the type of field we’re expecting for this year’s Travelers Championship,” Travelers tournament director Nathan Grube said in a statement.
The Travelers Championship will be staged from June 23-26, the week after the US Open being held at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, less than a 2-hour drive from TPC River Highlands in Cromwell.
And the Travelers is the week prior to the hosting of the DP World’s Irish Open, and if McIlroy is to return to Ireland, being in Connecticut the week prior would add to the ease of then flying home to Ireland
“With the U.S. Open right up the road, this is going to be a very good year for our fans and our sponsors,” Grube said. “I’ve loved our field the last decade. But whenever the Open is this close (the Travelers) has a different feel to it.”
The last time McIlroy played in the Travelers was in 2020 when he was ranked No. 1 in the world though eventually he shared 11th place behind champion Dustin Johnson.
McIlroy, the three-time PGA Tour Player of the Year (2012, 2014, and 2019), tied for 17th and tied for 12th in his other two previous Travelers appearances in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
And McIlroy is no stranger to booking tournaments well ahead with the Travelers organisers saying he committed to the 2020 Travelers in late August of 2019 — just days after winning the Tour Championship.
“(McIlroy) had given us the heads-up that 2021 would be a challenge, but that at the time, 2022 looked very, very positive,” Grube said. “It felt really good around the (Christmas, New Year’s) holidays. Then it became when would be the right time to start the normal cadence (of announcing commitments). … To get a guy to commit this early in this environment is awesome.”
Grube said the plan is “for a full event, what it looked like in 2019.” But after what happened the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic — no spectators at the 2020 event and limited fans in 2021 — nothing is being taken for granted.
“Obviously, if we have learned anything the last couple of years, it is to be ready to pivot if the environment changes,” Grube said. “Then you make the adjustments. But right now, we are planning for a full event.”