Sport Golf

Sunday 26 May 2019

McIlroy not expected in Lahinch despite Tour return


Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy

Brian Keogh

Paul McGinley believes it's unlikely Rory McIlroy will do a U-turn on his decision to skip the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open despite his last-minute reverse on European Tour membership.

The Holywood star rejoined the European before the deadline this week so he can start earning Ryder Cup points for Pádraig Harrington's team when qualifying starts at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in September.

He needs to play just four European Tour events to keep his membership but McGinley has not heard that he'll backtrack on his decision to skip Lahinch.

"There is no news on that, unfortunately," McGinley said last night.

While unconfirmed, McIlroy is expected to play the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open the week before The Open, the Omega European Masters, the BMW PGA at Wentworth and the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

Nick Faldo, meanwhile, is "concerned" by McIlroy's latest Sunday flop and hopes he can find the key that unlocks his game before next week's US PGA in New York.

The six-Major winner reckons McIlroy has confidence issues with "the big three" for a power hitter - driving, wedge play and putting.

McIlroy shot 73 to plummet out of contention for the Wells Fargo last Sunday, and Faldo sees issues that need addressing.

"I am concerned with his Sunday play," Faldo said. "That is the day when you are seriously tested, and unfortunately, we witnessed another poor Sunday from Rory three days ago, where his driver goes a little off.

"He has three major departments - the driving, distance control with the wedges and his putting - and that's the big three, especially when you are a power player.

"When it's all going well, as we know, Rory will spring down the fairway with his walk. And when it's not, it will affect him quite quickly.

"I felt on Sunday, he didn't want to let go. He pulled two or three tee-shots and still stood up with his driver on 14, basically saying, 'I should be able to do this', when that might have been the time to say, 'Okay, I've been pulling them all day, maybe I should do something different strategy-wise.'

"But no, he was adamant he wanted to test himself, and he stands up and puts it in the lake. So that's him testing himself rather than taking care of his scorecard.

"I watched his leg action and saw things there that are causing a little bit of inconsistency. So Rory has got to find whatever that little difference is to be able to compete on Sundays and driving forwards as he should be."

Streak Jordan Spieth is the star at the AT&T Byron Nelson in Dallas, where Seamus Power wants to continue his hot streak and Ryder Cup captain Pádraig Harrington is seeking that spark that ignites his season.

The Dubliner got his first wish as skipper when Europe's Tournament Committee agreed to reduce the number of Ryder Cup wildcards from four to three.

The year-long qualifying race will begin at the flagship BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in September and end there in 2020.

Meanwhile, Leona Maguire will be looking to get back to No 1 in the Symetra Tour rankings at the IOA Invitational in Georgia, while on the European Tour, Paul Dunne, Gavin Moynihan and Michael Hoey join host Tommy Fleetwood in the British Masters at Hillside.

Robin Dawson, Cormac Sharvin and Ruaidhri McGee are in the Czech Republic for the Prague Golf Challenge.

British Masters Live, Sky Sports, 10.30am

Byron Nelson Live, Sky Sports, 8.30pm

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