Dubai Duty Free Irish Open host, Paul McGinley praised Rory McIlroy’s ‘bloody-mindedness’ in accepting he won’t tee-up later this year at Lahinch.
McIlroy confirmed ahead of last week’s WGC event in Mexico that he would not be contesting the Irish Open.
The news came as a shock to most but McGinley’s has now accepted the four-time Major winner will not be taking-up a Co. Clare starring role.
“The writing was on the wall when Rory said that at the end of last year,” said McGinley in speaking on RTE’s Game On programme.
“I know Rory McIlroy very well and when he makes up his mind, he ain’t going to change it.
“He’s very dogged in his ways, in his views that he needs to not play the Irish Open, he needs to play in Scotland. The most important guy here is McIlroy.
“The proof will be in the pudding at the Open Championship and how it works out for him. What can you do? It’s disappointing for us in the Irish Open, disappointing for me hosting it. But it’s going to be a great Irish Open.”
McGinley added that he has his own personal views, but continued: “In some way, I admire the bloody-mindedness about him, to be honest. I think you need to have that about you to be a top player in the game.
“To be at the top at anything in your life, you’ve got to really have the courage of your convictions.
“Unfortunately, we miss out as Irish people. He’s certainly not turning his back on the Irish Open from everything that he’s said and we’ll look forward to having him tee-up again.”
McGinley was also asked his opinion of McIlroy’s current form with the Holywood star amassing four top-5 finishes from his first four starts this season.
“He’s putting really well,” said McGinley.
“Those vibes look good and it’s carried through into the last month or so. To be honest, last week was as good as I’ve seen Rory play for a number of years — if not ever.
“He really was that good. All facets of his game and no weakness there.
“Clearly, the work Rory has been undertaking with Brad Faxon has been good as Brad is a disciple of Bob Rotella, and we’ve seen how fantastic Bob has been as a teacher as he’s had such great success with Padraig (Harrington).
“Indirectly, he’s now a disciple of Bob Rotella’s. Because the stuff that Faxon would be talking to him about will be stuff that he’s learned from Rotella over 2-3 decades of working with him.”