Rory to cut back schedule

Missing the halfway cut in the defence of his UBS Hong Kong Open title has only reinforced Rory McIlroy’s goal to cut back on his playing schedule.

The world number one was disappointed and also embarrassed in posting scores of 72 and 73 for a shock five over par tally. Fellow US Open champion, Michael Campbell, who carded a 64 to lead the event by one on nine-under par, is now looking to end a seven-year winless drought.

“What Rory’s done for the game and for himself is fantastic but this week it now makes winning the UBS Hong Kong Open a lot easier, definitely,” said Campbell.

Posters and billboards about the Chinese Special Administrative District promoted the event as ‘World No. 1 Rory McIlroy – Mounts Historic Title Defence’. The promotional material and magazines will remain in place but McIlroy’s effort to be the first back-to-back UBS Hong Kong Open winner in 48 years ended under the weight of eight bogeys and a closing hole double-bogey from the middle of the Fanling fairway.

Surprisingly, it’s the eighth occasion in 23 events this year McIlroy will sit out the weekend rounds of a tournament.

McIlroy not only looks tired but he could also have picked up the same ‘bug’ girlfriend, Caroline Wozniacki is battling but under strict WTA rules she has to fight the complaint without medication.

“I’m not sure if the energy in trying to wrap up the Race to Dubai and competing in the FedEx Cup has taken more out of me than maybe I thought because while I am feeling okay physically, mentally I feel really tired,” McIroy said.

In contrast, fellow Irishman Peter Lawrie kept his hopes alive in seeking to join McIlroy next week in Dubai to make the Hong Kong cut with two rounds of 68 for a four under par tally.

Joining McIlroy in missing the cut was Pádraig Harrington with scores of 71 and 75.

lOne of golf’s best-known caddies has described not being able to go back alongside Lee Westwood when he recovers fitness as “unbelievably disappointing”.

The world number four has told Billy Foster that he is sticking with Zimbabwean Mike Kerr going into next season.

Foster, alongside Westwood in his rise to the top of the rankings, has needed two operations since suffering a cruciate knee injury during a soccer kickabout in America in May.

“It’s been very difficult these last six months – I’ve been in a dark tunnel,” Foster said.

“I’ve only started walking again these last two weeks, so to get the call from Lee just as I was starting to see the light again was unbelievably disappointing and made it harder to take.

“I’m a strong character and I’ll be fine – I know I will be – but all this because of a freak accident. I wasn’t even playing when it happened.”

Foster chose not to be part of a caddie side against a local team in North Carolina, but was there to watch and went on the pitch during the warm-up.

“My foot went in a hole and you could hear the crack 20 yards away,” he recalled.

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