Rory McIlroy plans to take a three-month break from competitive golf after the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship next month – and the four-time major winner says he is ‘excited’ at the prospect of a rest.
The Northern Irishman plays in this week’s Northern Trust tournament as he opens his defence of the FedEx Cup. He intends to play all four of the playoff events, followed by the Alfred Dunhill Links at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns.
That will be the last we see of him until 2018 as he bids to get himself fit and healthy after a stop-start season that has been ravaged by a succession of injuries.
“To have three months where I can focus on myself, my health, my game and just improvement, I don't think I'm ever going to get a chance like this in my career again where I get this opportunity to take three months to re-evaluate things, to work on some stuff to just try and improve and get better,” said McIlroy.
“I feel like it's a tremendous opportunity to improve as a golfer and with my health and with everything. I'm excited for that. I'm excited to play these next few weeks but I've already sat down with the team and we have a three-month plan going forward.”
The 28-year-old added that he will be getting ‘a lot of assessments and testing done’ in the middle of October and will only start hitting balls again at the end of November before working on ‘some technical stuff’ towards Christmas.
“From there forwards until next year, all we'll be focusing on is getting me in the best possible shape with my body and my game going into 2018,” he said. “Then when we get to January, hit the ground running and hopefully have an injury-free, stress-free, very successful year.”
McIlroy’s decision to shut down his season is a bitter blow to the European Tour as it rules him out of its lucrative Final Series.
“It just has been a little bit of an up-and-down year,” he continued. “[Next year] will be ten years since I turned pro. If I can do everything that I know that I can, work hard, and look after myself, practice the right way, have the right people around me, there's no reason that I can't go and have a more successful ten years than the ten years I've just had. That's really what I'm focusing on.”