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Golf

02nd May 2023

Rory McIlroy confirms he took mental health break from golf after Masters

Patrick McCarry

Rory McIlroy

“A needed break.”

Rory McIlroy has confirmed that he took a break from golf for the sake of his mental health after he played poorly and missed the cut at the recent US Masters.

Having already missed a designated PGA Tour event in Hawaii, earlier in the year, McIlroy was a no-show for the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links in mid April. PGA officials confirmed that the four-time major winner would receive a monetary sanction under the new tour rules that are seeking to have more of the world’s best players compete at the same ‘designated’ events.

McIlroy had come into the Masters in decent form yet needed to grind on the Thursday, at Augusta National, to stay within sight of the early leaders. He then imploded on Friday and missed the cut, not sticking around for any sort of debrief with the media.

The Holywood native has taken a lot on, over the past 15 months, as a crusader for the PGA Tour. McIlroy and Tiger Woods got together the tour’s top golfers for a players-only meeting, late last year, where the designated event idea was floated as a way to stave off the LIV Golf threat. For their part, the PGA Tour stated they would up the prize purses for these big status tour events.

Rory McIlroyRory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts to a putt on the 18th green during the second round of the 2023 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy on his ‘needed break’

As the champion of the designated events among fellow PGA Tour professionals, Rory McIlroy took some flak for missing out on two such events in the first three and a half months of the year.

Ahead of the Wells Fargo Championship, at the Quail Hollow club where he has won three times, McIlroy told Golf Channel his reason for the post-Masters break. “I think I’m in a better headspace than I was,” he reflected.

“It was a needed break,” McIlroy commented. “Obviously after the disappointment of Augusta, and then it’s been a pretty taxing 12 months, mentally, so it was nice to just try to disconnect and get away from it. But it’s nice to come back and feel refreshed.

“I think we’re on a pretty busy run here, from now until after the [FedEx] playoffs, so I’m excited to get going… it was the combination of a few things and, I think, the disappointment of Augusta and how I played there. For my mental and emotional well-being, I needed to be at home for those few weeks. But, as I said, I’m looking forward to getting back at it, this week.”

“I think for me it was a nice reset,” Rory McIlroy added, “because I still had to realise that there’s three more majors this year, there’s a ton left to play for.”

Pressed more on his break away from the game, McIlroy said there was a “private matter” he did not want to divulge anything more on.

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