Rory McIlroy says he took a break from the sport to focus on his “mental and emotional well-being” in the wake of his missed cut at The Masters last month.
McIlroy returns to the PGA Tour this week at the Wells Fargo Championship in North Carolina feeling refreshed following a three-week hiatus from the sport in the wake of his disappointing Augusta campaign.
The 33-year-old four-time Major champion withdrew from the RBC Heritage tournament last month immediately after The Masters without giving an explanation.
On Tuesday McIlroy revealed he had skipped the tournament for his own well-being, adding that the turmoil that has rocked golf in the past year since the emergence of the breakaway LIV circuit had taken a toll.
“I needed a break for me,” McIlroy told NBC’s Golf Channel. “Obviously, 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.”
McIlroy has emerged as one of the most trenchant critics of the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf, which has lured several of his Ryder Cup teammates from the PGA Tour with the offer of lucrative purses and no-cut fields.
McIlroy however said he is focused on his future, starting with this week’s tournament.
“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 play-offs so I’m excited to get going,” McIlroy said.
“I think it was a bit of a combination of a few things, and just after the disappointment of Augusta and how I played there, it was just more for my mental and emotional well-being I just needed to be at home for those few weeks but, as I said, looking forward to getting back this week.”
McIlroy said his absence from the Tour had left him in a “better headspace than I was.”
“I think for me it was a nice reset because I still had to realise that there are three more Majors this year, there is a ton left to play for,” McIlroy said.
“I needed to leave the last 12 months in the rearview mirror and focus on what’s ahead of me. I think the last three weeks has helped me gain that perspective and put me back on the right track.”
McIlroy did not give interviews after his Masters exit, and has not been put on the official interview schedule for this week’s event at Quail Hollow, where he has won three times before.
His decision to miss the RBC Heritage was the second designated PGA Tour event he has missed this season after skipping the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in January.
© Agence France-Presse