McIlroy: “I felt like it was the right time to step off”

Mark McGowan

Rory McIlroy (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

Mark McGowan

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Rory McIlroy expanded on his decision to resign from the PGA Tour Policy Board when talking to Sky Sports after his one-under 71 in the opening round of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

“Yeah, I just think I’ve got a lot going on in my life between my golf game, my family and my growing investment portfolio, my involvement in TGL, and I just felt like something had to give,” he said when asked about the thinking behind the decision. “I just didn’t feel like I could commit the time and the energy into doing that.

“I don’t mind being busy, but I just like being busy doing my own stuff. Something had to give and there’s guys that are on that board that are spending a lot more time and a lot more energy on it than I am. It’s in good hands and I felt like it was the right time to step off.”

McIlroy’s return to action after a six week layoff saw him put a new driver in the bag as he is effectively playing with house money after being crowned Race to Dubai champion following last week’s Nedbank Golf Challenge, and he was understandably a little undercooked, making five birdies but dropping shots at four holes as well.

“A little rusty,” was how he described his game afterwards. “Got off to a nice start, and then hit a couple of loose shots on the back nine and felt like I was scrambling pretty much the whole way there.

“So yeah, I mean, overall, still only four back. It was a tricky day. I think the wind was up in the morning. It settled down a little bit for our front nine and got up again for our back nine. I can certainly do better, I know that but it was nice to get one round out of the way and hopefully something to build on.”

The round ended in dramatic fashion, although the scorecard might suggest otherwise as he twice flirted with the various hazards on the closing par-5. Facing a stiff headwind, his tee shot received a fortuitous bounce when it looked destined for the stream to the right of the fairway, ending up on dry land to the right-hand side, albeit a little blocked out.

His second shot was even more fortuitous, landing in the stream up the centre before miraculously bouncing out, landing on the centre of the bridge and rolling off to the left-hand side, allowing him to put his third shot on the green and two-putt from long range for the most unlikely of pars.

“I was hoping that my tee shot was going to miss the hazard right but I didn’t exactly think that it would do what it did,” a rather sheepish McIlroy admitted afterwards. “And the second shot from the mulch, it just sort of started left on me, and yeah got another stroke of luck by coming back over the bridge.

“I was a bit in two minds about whether to go left and cut it or go right. I felt with the longer club by hitting it, there was a chance of clipping the bridge on the way through.

“So I took a wedge and hit it in. Just tried to hit it as hard as I could and ended up making a good five.

“Yeah, the up-and-down on 17 and the par on 18 was actually a pretty nice way to end the day.”

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