McIlroy avoids getting into any ‘Partnership’ discussion

Fatiha Betscher

Rory McIlroy (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Fatiha Betscher, Renaissance Club, Scotland .

Rory McIlroy was sticking to his no ‘partnership’ discussion stance in avoiding the waiting written media ahead of this week’s Genesis Scottish Open here at the Renaissance Club to the east of Edinburgh.

McIlroy was out first at 8am in Wednesday’s pro-am and, unlike any of his other 23 professional colleagues, he played a full 18-holes in a third visit to this week’s host venue.


He walked from the course signing autographs and agreeing to two TV interviews, and one of those with the Golf Channel, while around a dozen members of the written press waited in the hope of speaking with the current World No. 3, but it didn’t happen with McIlroy answering just a handful of questions and then heading straight to the clubhouse for lunch.

McIlroy is returning to Scotland’s premier event two years after missing the halfway cut.

“Last year we had the JP McManus Pro-Am, so I felt like even though it wasn’t completely competitive and serious, I felt like, I guess easing my way back into competitive golf before The Open at St Andrews,” he said.

“So, I just felt like this year, coming off the back of a big stretch, having three weeks off going into The Open probably wasn’t going to be the ideal prep.

“I’m playing this week to get some competitive golf under my belt going into Hoylake but, also it’s now a co-sanctioned event with PGA Tour, the DP World Tour, leading The Race to Dubai; up there in the FedExCup. It’s also an opportunity to gain some points on both sides of the pond, looking towards the end of the year and trying to win the season-long titles on both sides again. I feel like I’m sort of killing a few birds with one stone this week.”

Indeed, McIlroy tees-up to the east of Edinburgh having contested 13 tournaments this year, winning the Hero Dubai Desert Classic finishing second in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, hopelessly missing the cut at the Masters, third in the WGC – Dell Match-Play and more recently, runner-up in the U.S. Open.

“I’m as close as I’ve ever been, really. My consistency in the performances, especially in the majors over the last couple years is way better than it has been over the last few years.

“So, I’m really pleased at that but at the same time, having had a really good chance at St Andrews; having a really good chance in L.A. a few weeks ago.

“Yeah, I need to keep putting myself in those positions obviously and the more times I go through them whether it be St Andrews or L.A., and just gaining that experience. You know, all of that stuff, even though I’m not getting the wins, it’s going to stand by me whenever I get myself in position again.

“So, I think just all of that will obviously be good with one eye towards next week, and The Open. But still, it’s a big tournament and I can sort of make points on both sides of the pond looking later down the line at the end of the year for FedExCup and Race to Dubai and all that stuff.

“I think this week serves a few purposes.”

And the current World No. 3, who heads to next week’s 151st Open Championship where he last won in 2014, declared there is no mental scars returning for a first time in nine years to golf’s oldest major.

“I don’t think there’s any scars, and the one nice things about the U.S. Open a few weeks ago is I had to play golf the week after,” he said

“I didn’t have to, but it was nice to play the week after at the Travelers because then you’re not really dwelling on it, right. You have to get right back in the saddle and go all over again. There has not been much dwelling on anything.

“I was really happy with my performance. I thought I stuck to my game plan really well. I know my game is in good shape, so I’m excited about that.”

This week will be McIlroy’s eighth start at the Scottish Open, however, there was one time when the event was initially not on his schedule but he ended up playing in the tournament. That was in 2021. He had planned to skip the Scottish Open ahead of the 149th Open. However, due to stringent COVID-19 protocols for the event, he ended up entering the 2021 Scottish Open.

McIlroy said at the pre-conference event of the 2021 Scottish Open that although it was a last-minute decision to include the event on his schedule, he wasn’t present there out of his will.

He said at the time: “It was like, I wanted to play. I made the decision. I’m not here against my will. But just with being over here, it just made sense to play. It made sense to play rather than go down to London for a week and sort of practice down there. I guess I could have got to Wembley tonight and got my Danish top on.”

McIlroy was referring to the Euro Cup 2020 semifinal, where England had a match against Denmark on July 6, 2021.

He starts this week’s Genesis Scottish Open at 7.59am in the company of defending champ Xander Schauffele and Justin Thomas.

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