Saturday 20 January 2018

McIlroy pulls out of Unicef's Haiti visit

Lesley-Anne McKeown

Irish golf champion Rory McIlroy has pulled out of a humanitarian mission to Haiti because of playing commitments, it was confirmed yesterday.

The two-time major winner, who is an Irish ambassador for the children's charity Unicef, was due to fly to the Caribbean island today to visit schools and community projects.

"Unfortunately, I have had to postpone my planned trip to Haiti with Unicef due to a change in my playing commitments," said the golfer.

McIlroy, 23, who is due to compete in the forthcoming US Masters, has endured a difficult start to the year and has been struggling to find his best form after changing his club and ball manufacturers.

Earlier last week he was surpassed by American Tiger Woods for the world's No 1 spot.

McIlroy has been a Unicef ambassador for two years and first visited Haiti in 2011 to see the devastation caused by the earthquake of 2010, which killed or injured thousands and left more than a million people homeless.

During that two-day trip, which came just weeks after his infamous US Masters meltdown, he visited newly built schools, a maternal centre and camps in the country's capital, Port-au-Prince.

In a statement released yesterday, McIlroy promised he would return to Haiti.

"I am a strong supporter of Unicef's work and I was privileged to be given the opportunity to visit Haiti, with Unicef, nearly two years ago.

"We are currently looking at dates to reschedule my trip and I look forward to visiting Haiti very soon," he said.

A Unicef spokeswoman said details would be announced in due course.

Irish Independent

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