Busy McIlroy returns to scene of first U.S. win

Wed May 13, 2015 8:22pm EDT
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By Andrew Both

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy does not usually play five successive weeks of tournament golf, but he could not resist returning to the site of his first PGA Tour victory for this week's Wells Fargo Championship.

McIlroy announced his arrival to an admiring American audience when he shot a final round 62 at Quail Hollow in 2010, a year after his first professional win at the European Tour's Dubai Desert Classic.

He has played the PGA Tour event every year since, finishing outside the top-10 only once with a missed cut in 2011.

"It doesn't seem that long ago (2010) but great to be back," McIlroy told reporters after playing in Wednesday's pro-am with Grace Vaughan, a 16-year-old with a blood disorder who won an essay contest to play with any professional of her choosing.

McIlroy opted to compete this week but his busy schedule means he will reluctantly miss the Jack Nicklaus-hosted Memorial tournament in early June, two weeks before the U.S. Open.

The Northern Irish world number one loves the event at Muirfield Village in Ohio so much that he wrote Nicklaus a letter to apologize for his absence.

By coincidence, he then met Nicklaus on Monday at the Bears Club in Florida, where they both have their primary residence.

"The first thing he (Nicklaus) said to me was that he'd received my letter and I said to him I wanted to write rather than phone or just advise the tour. He seemed pretty taken back to get my letter and that made me feel good," McIlroy, 26, said.   Continued...

May 9, 2015; Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, USA; Rory McIlroy hits his approach to the 14th hole during the third round of The Players Championship golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass - Stadium Course. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports