Rory McIlroy reckons he’s got a good reason for not playing the Irish Open, but he has a totally bizarre excuse for not contesting this week’s Honda Classic and it’s got nothing do with the fact McIlroy has played poorly in recent years at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens.
What then would be the issue in teeing-up less than a 10-minute drive from his palatial Bears Club abode, where he and wife Erica would get to spend the week of a ‘home’ event in their matrimonial bed and enjoy all the comforts and luxuries of home without the need for room service?
Well, McIlroy reckons he just cannot get his head around staying at home and also committing himself to the $6.8m tournament.
“I just find something strange about playing a golf tournament when you are staying at home and like actually in your own bed,” he said.
“Usually when you have a few weeks off you are home and you’re in a different mindset and a different routine, but then when I am staying in a hotel at a tournament, I have the same routine as I get-up and go to the gym. I eat breakfast and it is just a bit different to when you are staying at home.
“It’s nothing to do with having family or friends around, if I were staying at home for a tournament. It’s just a feeling of not being home and it’s weird.
“Even the times I was playing well at the Honda (Won and went to World No. 1 in 2012, runner-up 2014) it wasn’t as though it was home for me, as I was renting a place those weeks.
“So, it is all a little different now as we live at the Bears Club in our own house, but then I am sure I will play it in the future and it will be back on my schedule at some point, but for this year what with defending at Bay Hill next week and the Players now moved back to March it would have meant playing five in a row which is just too much for me.”
The Honda Classic also proved too much for double winning Padraig Harrington, who had entered the event he won in both 2005 and 2015 but has now withdrawn as his injured wrist has not fully healed.
Harrington broke a bone in his wrist last December in slipping down the staircase of his Dublin house and had the wrist in a splint last month in being named 2020 European Ryder Cup Captain.
It means Harrington has now missed two new year events in the Middle East and two on the PGA Tour and the non-attendance of McIlroy and withdrawal of Harrington has left Graeme McDowell and Seamus Power to carry the Irish colours with Power having the honour in being out in the very first group off the 10th tee.
TEE TIMES – (Irish time)
Seamus Power – 11.45am
Padraig Harrington – 4.55pm