Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy has confirmed that he will play in this year’s Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club – and the expense of the Irish Open.
McIlroy, 29, revealed his plans to BBC Northern Ireland, explaining that he intends to use the Scottish Open to “tune up” for The Open’s much anticipated return to Royal Portrush the following week.
“If there is ever a year when I feel I can miss this Irish Open, it's this year," said the Northern Irishman. "If I was to play the Irish Open, The Open Championship would be my third event in a row.
"For me, that's not the best way to prepare for what could be the biggest event of my life.”
Whilst news of McIlroy’s Scottish Open is a huge boost to organisers, his decision to skip the Irish Open is a bitter blow to an event that he is largely credited with rescuing.
McIlroy, an ever-present in his home open stretching back to 2007, served as its host from 2015 until 2018 and, in the process, breathed new life into a tournament that was struggling to remain viable.
His tenure as host ended after last year’s event at Ballyliffin, with former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley taking the reins for this year’s tournament at Lahinch.