Rory McIlroy to make first-ever Phoenix Open appearance, part of busy 8-week stretch

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Tim Schmitt
·2 min read
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There’s no rest for Rory McIlroy when it comes to the opening stretch of the 2021 calendar year — or at least not much.

After a 10-week hiatus immediately following the Masters, McIlroy’s team has confirmed to Golfweek that he’ll make his first-ever appearance at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February, meaning he’s committed to play seven events in an 8-week stretch.

This will mark McIlroy’s debut at the event long referred to as the People’s Open, but he’s used the event at TPC Scottsdale as a model for the Irish Open which he’s helping to build into a more relevant tournament. In fact, members of his foundation attended the Phoenix Open in 2016 and asked some from the famed Thunderbird Club for insight into growing the event.

Meanwhile, McIlroy had the lead last weekend in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship but struggled to an even-par 72 on Sunday, giving Tyrrell Hatton a path to the title.

“I don’t feel like I played great this week, I felt I was managing my game a bit,” McIlroy said after Abu Dhabi. “It’s nice to get a competitive week under my belt, know where my game is and see what I have to do to keep improving.”

McIlroy, who has fallen to No. 7 in the Official World Golf Ranking and the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, failed to win in 2020, but was in the top 10 in both the U.S. Open and the Masters. He’ll play again this week at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines before heading to Phoenix, then take a single week off before playing four straight events, finishing with The Players Championship.

McIlroy will also play the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas, as well as the Masters, meaning he will have played nine times in a dozen weeks.

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