Wednesday 19 June 2019

McIlroy wary of mid-season burnout as Major targets loom on horizon

Rory McIlroy teed off his 2019 season last night in the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua Golf Club Plantation course in Lahaina, Hawaii. Photo: Getty Images
Rory McIlroy teed off his 2019 season last night in the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua Golf Club Plantation course in Lahaina, Hawaii. Photo: Getty Images

Brian Keogh

Rory McIlroy teed off his 2019 season in Hawaii last night admitting that mid-season burn-out is his biggest challenge as he bids to get back to the very top of the game.

The Co Down man (29) believes it's crucial he remains fresh and motivated between the US Open in mid-June through to the end of the FedEx Cup play-offs in late August.

And while he has yet to make a definitive, public pronouncement on his summer plans, skipping events he might have played in the past is high on the agenda.

What that means for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Lahinch from July 4-7 remains to be seen but with the Holywood star hoping to play the week before most Majors, he faces some tough decisions if he's to avoid the mid-summer madness.

"There are some events I have played regularly in the past that I am going to have to sit out," McIlroy said on the eve of the season-opening Sentry Tournament of Champions on Kapalua.

"I was looking at the summer schedule basically post-US Open all the way through until after the FedEx Cup and potentially I could play 11 out of 13 weeks.

Too much

"That's a lot of golf and that's too much for me. I know by that fifth or sixth week I am going to hate the game and I am going to have to take a break.

"I am trying to play the week before Majors, there might be a couple that I mightn't but the week before a couple of the Majors especially, it can really benefit you."

While he was injured in 2015 and missed the Open, he has played the week before a Major just three times in 15 Major appearances since his double Major-winning season of 2014.

But whatever he decides, the world number eight's decision to play less in Europe and more in the US is designed to help him make bigger strides up the world rankings and the FedEx Cup standings.

Playing more in the US also has a more practical side - domestic bliss.

Having purchased the Florida home of former globetrotter Ernie Els, McIlroy is embracing the American Dream like never before with home life as big a factor as any professional ambitions.

"I think taking up residence in the US last year, being a permanent resident, I made the decision that this is where my life is going to be," said McIlroy, who wed his American wife Erica in April 2017.

"This is where I am going to live."

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