mental break | 

Rory McIlroy’s brutally honest confession after his Masters heartache

Break from the game explained by four-time major champion

Rory McIlroy© Getty Images

Brian Keogh

Rory McIlroy admits "mental and emotional wellbeing” was part of his reason for taking three weeks off after his Masters disappointment.

Speaking to Golf Channel ahead of this week's $20 million Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow, the world number three confessed he was spent after producing such a disappointing performance on the back of a year of off-course distraction backing the PGA Tour's response to LIV Golf.

He earlier told Barstool's Dan Rapaport that his decision to skip Harbour Town was "due to personal reasons" and that it was a "private matter."

Later, speaking to Golf Channel, he said taking the last three weeks off was "a needed a break for me."

He added: "Obviously after the disappointment of the Masters it's been a pretty taxing 12 months mentally, so it was nice to just disconnect a little bit and get away from it.

"But it's nice to come back and feel refreshed and I think we're on a pretty busy run here from now until after the playoffs so I'm excited to get going.

"I think it was a combination of a few things, and just after the disappointment of Augusta and how I played there, it was just more for my mental and emotional wellbeing.

"I just needed to be at home for those few weeks but as I said, looking forward to getting back this week.”

McIlroy declined to speak to the media after his shocking missed cut at the Masters and while he was scheduled to speak before the following week’s event at Harbour Town Golf Links, he skipped his second designated event, one more than allowed, exposing himself to losing the remaining $3 million of his $12 million PIP payment.

He only went part of the way towards solving the mystery of Augusta and Harbour Town when he spoke to a reporter at the Charlotte venue today.

“Spoke briefly to Rory McIlroy,” tweeted Barstool Sports’ Daniel Rapaport. “Said his WD from the RBC Heritage was due to personal reasons and that it’s a private matter. He’s happy to be back at Quail Hollow this week.”

With world number one Jon Rahm and number two Scottie Scheffler taking the week off, McIlroy is the favourite to win the $20 million Wells Fargo Championship for the fourth time.

It was the scene of his first PGA Tour win in 2010 and he went on to win again in 2015 and 2021.

He’s also got another six top-10 finishes, including a playoff lost to Rickie Fowler in 2012, amongst his 11 starts.

However, there will be as much talk about the new schedule of designated events which is causing some unease amongst the top stars.

“Yeah, it's impacted my schedule,” said Tony Finau, who held off Rahm to win the Mexico Open at Vidanta on Sunday. “I've already played a couple elevated events that I normally wouldn't throw in my schedule, so it has thrown my schedule a little bit for a loop. “It will do the same next year, but I think these are the sacrifices that I'm willing to make as a player to play these events as elevated events. “I mean, it's not that I don't like them, it's just normally tournaments that I haven't played in the past so I didn't have that much experience going into these tournaments this year.

“But overall everybody has to sacrifice a little bit I think as far as their schedule is concerned and this year it's been a couple already. I think it will be one or two more as we move forward with elevated events.

“The good news is next year I would have now played all of them and hopefully next time around at least up to this point I can play some of those events better.”

It’s also a big week for Shane Lowry and Seamus Power who return to action after mixed weeks at the Masters.

Lowry has never finished better than tied 24th in four appearances in the Wells Fargo event — and 48th in the 2017 US PGA there — while Power’s best finish at what was his former home town event is a tie for 13th in 2019.

Meanwhile, Joe LaCava confirmed that with Tiger Woods out indefinitely due to his recent ankle surgery, he is taking on a full-time role with Patrick Cantlay starting this week.

Golf Channel first reported the news, saying that Woods had signed off on the bag swap for his long-time caddie who has worked for Fred Couples and Steve Stricker in one-off events this year.

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