WORLD No 1 Rory McIlroy is set to miss the Scottish Open for the fourth year running, and third at Castle Stuart, when the Inverness course comes to the end of its current stint as the event’s host venue next July, writes Martin Dempster.
Fresh from winning the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, the 23-year-old has announced his planned schedule for next season and, at the moment at least, it doesn’t include the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
McIlroy played in the event twice at Loch Lomond – tying for 19th on his debut in 2008 then finishing 46th a year later – but organisers have been unable to tempt him, so far anyway, to the Highlands. As things stand, the two-times major winner is committed to playing in the Irish Open, which moves to Carton House from Royal Portrush next year, in the last week of June. He is then scheduled to have two weeks off, missing the French and Scottish Opens, to prepare for the Open Championship at Muirfield in mid-July.
That, at least, guarantees golf’s man of the moment making one appearance in Scotland in 2013 and there’s also a possibility of him returning to the Dunhill Links Championship next September.
That was the event which provided the springboard for his amazing career, having finished third at St Andrews in only his second professional appearance in 2007. And he has played in the Dunhill Links regularly since then, partnering his dad, Gerry, in the pro-am event, until missing out this year as he recovered from the previous week’s Ryder Cup.
McIlroy will start his 2013 campaign in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in January, when he will lock horns with Tiger Woods.
But he’s not staying in the Middle East for the Dubai Desert Classic, despite that having been his first professional title triumph in 2009.
A trimmed-down schedule also includes the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, where McIlroy missed the cut this year before embarking on a run that saw him land five titles, including a major.