Rory McIlroy admits China criticism fair

Rory McIlroy admits China criticism fair

SINGAPORE - Agence France-Presse
Rory McIlroy admits China criticism fair

Rory McIlroy says it was important for him to ‘decompress’ before the final weeks of the golf season. REUTERS photo

World number one Rory McIlroy yesterday accepted criticism over his controversial move to skip last week’s WGC-HSBC Champions, but said he desperately needed a break from his hectic schedule.
McIlroy, 23, and Tiger Woods both opted out of the prestigious $7 million tournament at southern China’s Mission Hills, just days after facing each other in the lucrative one-day “Duel at Jinsha Lake,” also in China.

McIlroy called the WGC-HSBC Champions a “tough one to miss”, but added that he had to cut one event to avoid playing too many consecutive weeks.

“It’s a World Golf Championship, it was a tough one to miss, especially watching it on TV,” he said ahead of the Singapore Open, agreeing that the criticism was fair. “But I can’t play every week. If I’d played that, I would have played five in a row to finish the season, after playing in Turkey and playing the Ryder Cup and all the FedEx Cup. It’s just too much, and that was the one I cut.”

Return to Shanghai

He hinted that he may be more likely to play the WGC-HSBC Champions next year when it returns to Shanghai’s Sheshan International Golf Club, which he prefers to Mission Hills’ Olazabal course.

“I played the course at Mission Hills a couple of years ago and I didn’t like it,” he said. “I thought it was a course that if I went to, I was going to get frustrated and I just wanted to give it a miss. I’m glad it’s going back up to Shanghai next year.”

McIlroy spent last week watching his tennis star girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki reach the final of the Tournament of Champions in Bulgaria.

He said it was a great way to “decompress” before the final few weeks of the year, when he is bidding to become the second man ever to top both the European and PGA Tour prize money standings in the same season.

“I need those weeks where I can completely escape from this, from my life. I sometimes forget what I actually am, what I do, and I need to get completely away from it,” McIlroy said.

“I think I need those weeks, they’re very helpful and it helps me get away. You see some guys, golf is everything, it’s their life. Of course it’s my life, and I’m very lucky to do it, but sometimes you just need to step away from it and decompress in some way.

“Spending last week with Caroline definitely helped me do that.”