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Resilient Rory McIlroy has no regrets after year of ‘exploration’

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Rory McIlroy says a "massive sense of guilt" prompted him to ensure his journeys to tournaments around the world are carbon neutral. Photo: Richard Sellers/PA Wire

Rory McIlroy says a "massive sense of guilt" prompted him to ensure his journeys to tournaments around the world are carbon neutral. Photo: Richard Sellers/PA Wire

Rory McIlroy says a "massive sense of guilt" prompted him to ensure his journeys to tournaments around the world are carbon neutral. Photo: Richard Sellers/PA Wire

Life is a rollercoaster for Rory McIlroy but he still manages to turn lows into highs even when it comes to a carbon footprint that would turn Greta Thunberg apoplectic.

The former world No 1 revealed ahead of the DP World Tour Championship it was “a massive sense of guilt” that prompted him to impose a tax on himself for using a private jet.

“Two years ago, after I won the WGC in China, I flew back home privately and it was only me on the plane,” McIlroy said in Dubai.

“And suddenly, this massive sense of guilt just came over me. I looked around and said to myself, ‘This can’t be good’. I wouldn’t self-profess to be an eco-warrior, but I don’t want to damage the environment. So I got in touch with the GEO Foundation, the only sort of sustainability foundation in golf that I knew of, and they came up with a few options.

“Now on top of what I pay to fly private, I pay quite a bit more to make sure I’m carbon-neutral by the end of the year.”

McIlroy is no stranger both changing his mind radically and taking a firm stand, and he’s not for turning on the breakaway, Saudi-backed world tour he’s called a “money grab”.

“That has only hardened my view,” he said when asked about Greg Norman’s appointment as CEO of the Saudi-owned company that’s purchased the Asian Tour.

As for his rollercoaster season – two wins, two coaches, four missed cuts, a disappointing Ryder Cup and a now seven-year Major itch – he has no regrets.

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“It’s been good,” the world No 8 said. “I feel like it’s been a year of exploration, learning. There have been some good parts. Obviously, the couple wins in the States were nice. I was tied for the lead with nine holes to go at a Major championship, at the US Open.”

Like 18th-ranked Shane Lowry, 20th-ranked McIlroy cannot win in the Race to Dubai as it’s a six-man battle between Collin Morikawa, Billy Horschel, Tyrrell Hatton, Min Woo Lee, Matt Fitzpatrick and Paul Casey.

“There’s been some good stuff in there,” said McIlroy, who can match Pádraig Harrington with 15 European Tour wins this week in 236 fewer starts.

“I’ve worked hard. I’ve learned a few things. And I feel like I’ve sort of went through that sort of barrier, struggle if you will, and then I came through the other side of it.

“It’s been an interesting year. I don’t regret any of it.”

On his decision to go back to coach Michael Bannon having turned to Pete Cowen in March, he revealed he wants to be self-reliant.

“I’m not saying that I don’t need any help ever again and I’ve got figured it out, but I talked about it in Vegas, just about being myself and not trying to do anything that other people do or what I can’t do,” he said.

“If anything, Michael is more of a sounding board at this point. I say to him, this is what I’m trying to do; tell me if I’m completely not right.”


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