Rory set to skip Irish Open

RORY McILROY could skip next year’s Irish Open for a return to the scene of his US Open triumph if the European Tour opts for a late June date.

That was the stark message to Wentworth from agent Andrew “Chubby” Chandler, who indicated PGA Tour bound McIlroy could be forced to choose between his national open and the clashing AT&T National at Congressional Country Club — the scene of his memorable US Open win just three months ago.

Sources close to the negotiations have indicated the European Tour is about to hammer out an Irish Open deal with potential sponsors Zurich that could see the event move from its recent August bank holiday weekend slot to the last weekend in June. But while that comes two weeks after the US Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, it also clashes with the PGA Tour’s AT&T National at Congressional Country Club, scheduled for June 28 to July 1.

In response to an e-mail query about McIlroy’s availability for an Irish Open appearance in late June next year, agent Chandler said: “Rory is considering his options at the moment, the tournament in the States is at Congressional so it is reasonably attractive too!!”

Asked in Holland last week if the Irish Open was on his 2012 schedule, McIlroy replied: “Depends.”

He hastily added: “Of course... I’m not sure when the date is yet, so that’s why.”

McIlroy has found it difficult to produce his best golf at the Irish Open for the past two years, finishing 34th in 2010 and 35th this year. He said: “You’re sort of being pulled here, there and everywhere, it’s hard to have your focus 100% on the golf because there’s so much else going on around it.”

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