McIlroy to skip Sawgrass to stay fresh for US Open

TIGER WOODS has yet to say whether he will be fit enough for the Players Championship next week but Rory McIlroy has confirmed he will not be taking part in golf’s richest event.

Like world number one Lee Westwood, birthday boy McIlroy — 22 yesterday — is controversially giving the €6.3million Sawgrass tournament a miss.

And that is despite the fact that he has flown to the States this week to defend the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow in Charlotte.

“It is a year-by-year thing,” said the Holywood golfer, back in America for the first time since his Masters meltdown.

“I’m playing here, taking next week off and then playing Spain, Wentworth, Memorial, week off, US Open.

“If I played The Players then the US Open would be my sixth week (out) of seven, which is a lot of golf for me. I said to myself that this year I wouldn’t play more than three in a row and if I had played The Players it would be five in a row.

“It’s just too much golf for me. I feel as if I just get a little lethargic and a little lazy after three events and it would just be best for my preparation for the US Open if I didn’t play one of those events.

“Sawgrass was the one — I don’t feel that comfortable on the golf course yet. That doesn’t mean that I won’t play it next year or the year after, but this year it just didn’t really fit.”

Twelve months ago McIlroy missed the cut in Florida just five days after his astonishing maiden PGA Tour victory in North Carolina.

After making the halfway cut with nothing to spare — and thanks to a late eagle — the world number six followed a third-round 66 with a course record 62 to beat Phil Mickelson by four strokes.

Mickelson, after three weeks off following his disappointing Masters, is back now to try to go one better and is favourite to win on Sunday in the absence of Woods.


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