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Rory McIlroy out of RBC Heritage – and he has some explaining to do

McIlroy out of PGA Tour event after disastrous performance at The Masters

Rory McIlroy missed the cut at the Masters© REUTERS


Rory McIlroy has withdrawn from this week’s $20 million RBC Heritage at Hilton Head — a designated event — with his management team tight-lipped so far on the reason for his decision.

Under PGA Tour regulations, the Holywood man is expected to play all the remaining designated events this season after opting to skip the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in January or face a possible cut in his PIP bonus.

The world number three shot rounds of 72 and 77 to miss the cut by two strokes in the Masters, where he was one of the favourites to end his nine-year Major drought and complete the Career Grand Slam.

As one of the driving forces behind the recent changes to the PGA Tour schedule, McIlroy’s decision to skip a designated event will not have been taken lightly.

He displayed no signs of injury at Augusta National and while his devastatingly disappointing missed cut is the likely cause, his manager Sean O’Flaherty did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

McIlroy did not withdraw before the entry deadline for the RBC Heritage at 5pm on Friday and was scheduled to speak to the media at 8:30am at Harbour Town Golf Links on Tuesday.

PGA Tour officials working at the event could not shed any light on McIlroy’s reasons for withdrawal and directed enquiries to his manager.

There are 17 designated events in 2023.

In addition to the major championships (four), THE PLAYERS Championship (1) and the FedExCup Playoffs events (3), the nine designated events in 2023 are (chronologically): Sentry Tournament of Champions, WM Phoenix Open, The Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, RBC Heritage, Wells Fargo Championship, the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday and Travelers Championship.

Provided they are eligible, players finishing in the top 23 of the Player Impact Program for 2022 are required to compete in the designated events.

They include McIlroy, who finished second to Tiger Woods ($15 million) in the 2022 PIP list and received $12 million.

Each of those 23 players may opt out of one of the nine designated events (that does not include THE PLAYERS Championship, the major championships and the FedExCup Playoffs events.

However, as McIlroy has already skipped the Sentry Tournament of Champions, his PIP payment may be affected for this season.

According to the PGA Tour: “In 2023, only players who are receiving bonus money through the Player Impact Program have specific playing requirements in designated events.

“The players eligible for bonus money through the Player Impact Program receive payments in instalments: 75 per cent upon the conclusion of the Sentry Tournament of Champions and 25 per cent upon completion of the designated tournament requirement, service requirement and mandatory tournament rule.”

“If players receiving bonus money through PIP are injured and cannot compete in designated events, decisions on PIP compensation-related questions will be at the discretion of the Office of the Commissioner.

“There is a medical clause in the Mandatory Participation Regulation. “

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