Rory McIlroy, who had already signed up for a charity event that is effectively testing the water as top-level golf prepares to return from the coronavirus lockdown, is now set to play in the first three tournaments on the revised PGA Tour schedule.
In an interview with the Golf Channel, the world No 1 revealed he plans to tee up in the US circuit’s return to action with the Charles Schab Challenge in Texas on 11-14 June, as well as the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links in South Carolina and the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Connecticut the following two weeks.
“I just want to get back out and play,” said McIlroy, speaking ahead of Sunday’s TaylorMade Driving Relief, a skins match supported by UnitedHealth Group, in whichthe four-time major winner will team up with Dustin Johnson against Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff.
“That’s my plan, play the first three. I think it will be nice to get back out and play. Obviously we’re going to have to take as many precautions as possible to be able to put Tour events on again, but I think the PGA Tour has got a very robust plan in place, and if they can execute it the right way, I see no reason why we can’t start 11 June. If we do, I’ll be ready to go in Fort Worth.”
It will be McIlroy’s first appearance in that particular event, while he has only played once at Hilton Head and that was early in his professional career in 2009. His two appearances in the Travelers Championship have been more recent, playing in both 2017 and 2018.
“You have to be ready to go,” said the recently-turned 31-year-old, who has been out of action since the game went into lockdown at the top level following the cancellation of the Players Championship at Sawgrass after the first round exactly two months ago.
“You know, stay sharp. Stay ready. I sort of joked a little bit at the start of this whole thing, saying, well, guys wanted an offseason. Well, now’s your offseason. It’s pedal to the metal to the end of the year to try to get as much golf in as possible. I personally am looking forward to that, if it can happen.
“I miss the competition. I miss the buzz of getting into contention and playing in those last few groups on a Sunday and really feeling that. I also miss the locker room. I miss being around people. I miss the banter that goes on in the locker rooms and the camaraderie that people don’t see.
McIlroy, who returned to world No 1 in February for the first time in five years, added: “I’m eager to play again and I’ll play as much as necessary to give myself a chance to win tournaments and keep myself at the top of the world ranking. I was playing pretty well when this all happened in March (his last seven starts all resulted in top-five finishes), so I would like to just really pick up where I left off. That would be nice.”
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