Rory McIlroy to join Garcia and Westwood in British Masters

Rory McIlroy's failure to earn a chance to defend his '¨PGA Tour Championship title in Atlanta has led to an unexpected bonus for next week's British Masters at Close House in Northumberland.

The four-time major winner has confirmed he will now be playing in the European Tour event, which is being hosted by former world No 1 Lee Westwood, before bringing his 2017 campaign to a conclusion at the following week’s Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland.

The addition of McIlroy, pictured, to the field is another huge boost for the event after Masters champion Sergio Garcia confirmed earlier in the year that he would also be playing as he returned a favour to 
his Ryder Cup team-mate, Westwood.

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“I am looking forward to playing my first British Masters since 2008,” said McIlroy, who needed to be inside the top 30 in the FedEx Cup after the BMW Championship in Illinois at the weekend but fell 18 spots short.

“I kind of had it in the back of my mind that if I didn’t make the (PGA) Tour Championship, then there was a chance to tee it up at Close House, so I have decided to do that before finishing my season off the next week at the 
Dunhill Links.”

McIlroy, who turned professional ten years ago yesterday, is playing in the pro-am at Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and St Andrews with his dad, Gerry.

“Teeing it up next week gives me one more chance to end 2017 on a high as well,” added the 28-year-old, who, after an injury-plagued season, finds himself down to eighth in the latest world rankings, his lowest position for more than three years.

“If I can sign off the year with a win or two in Newcastle and then St Andrews, I would take so many positives into my six-week recovery period when I am going to reset mentally and physically and concentrate on getting myself in the right shape for next year.”