Rory McIlroy Breaks Silence On RBC Heritage Withdrawal

 Rory McIlroy takes a shot during the first round of the 2023 Masters
Rory McIlroy takes a shot during the first round of the 2023 Masters

World No.3 Rory McIlroy has revealed why he withdrew from PGA Tour designated event the RBC Heritage.

The top players are obliged to play all but one of the designated events in 2023 or risk penalties. McIlroy missed the first of those tournaments, the Sentry Tournament of Champions, in January, meaning he was expected to play in the remainder of the higher-profile events this season.

Following that absence, McIlroy will make his first appearance since missing the cut at The Masters in another designated event, the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow. Speaking to the Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis during the build-up to the tournament, McIlroy explained the decision to miss the Harbour Town tournament.

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He said: “I needed a break for me after the disappointment of Augusta. It’s been a pretty taxing 12 months mentally so it was nice to just try to disconnect a little bit and get away from it.  It’s nice to come back and feel refreshed and I think we’re on a pretty busy run here from now until after the playoffs so I’m excited to get going.

"After the disappointment of Augusta and how I played there it was just, I think just more for my mental and emotional well-being, I just needed to be at home for those few weeks as I said looking forward to getting back at it this week."

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McIlroy also explained the break came at a good time considering the amount of golf there is still left in the season. He said: "I think it was a nice reset for me because I still had to realise that there’s three more Majors this year.

"There’s a ton left to play for so I guess it was a little bit like, not a new beginning in a way, but, OK, I played great golf until then but I sort of need to leave the last 12 months in the rearview mirror and focus on what’s ahead of me and I think the last three weeks has helped me gain that perspective and put me back on the right track.”

McIlroy’s decision to miss the RBC Heritage raised eyebrows because he has been one of the most vocal proponents of the designated events since their introduction. It appears he will pay a price for that absence, though, and is reportedly facing a reduction of his PIP award to the tune of around $3m.

Given this will be McIlroy's first appearance since that disappointment at Augusta National, he could barely have chosen a more appropriate tournament to try and put it behind him. The four-time Major winner has won the Wells Fargo Championship three times, most recently in 2021.