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Paul McGinley has reiterated his disappointment that Rory McIlroy won’t play the Irish Open this year.
McGinley succeeds McIlroy as the host for the event, which takes place at Lahinch at the beginning of July.
McIlroy has played in every edition of his national open stretching back to 2007 and is largely credited with salvaging the tournament from certain oblivion since taking the reins as host between 2015 and 2018.
However, he is sitting it out this year in favour of playing the Scottish Open the following week in preparation for the Open at Royal Portrush the week after that.
Speaking to the BBC, McGinley called McIlroy’s decision a “sign of the times”.
“It was a disappointment but this is something we’re going to see more of going forward,” said McGinley. “The challenges the players have on the world schedule are huge. The amount of money they play for around the world is huge and the focus is very much going to be on major championships.
“He is not the only one. Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka as well as Tiger Woods – look at his schedule right through his career – they don’t play a huge amount and they define everything around the major championships.”
McGinley also sounded a note of caution about the quality of field the Irish Open is likely to attract this year.
“The days of old when Seve, Faldo, Langer, Woosie and all the top players played in an Irish Open, those days are gone,” he said.
“If you have two or three or four of the big names then you fit around the guys who are top 50 in the world around that, then it’s a very good field. That’s what we’re on course to do and hopefully we’re going to get there.”
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