February 21, 2019 / 10:43 AM / 4 months ago

Golf: McIlroy to skip Irish Open to focus on Open Championship

FILE PHOTO: February 17, 2019; Pacific Palisades, CA, USA; Rory McIlroy hits from the twelfth hole tee box during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Rory McIlroy is set to skip the Irish Open at Lahinch in July to focus on the Open Championship in his native Northern Ireland later that month, the four-times major winner has said.

The Irish Open gets underway at the Old Course on July 4 while the Open, which is being held in Northern Ireland’s Royal Portrush Golf Club this year, begins on July 18.

“If there is ever a year when I feel I can miss this Irish Open, it’s this year,” McIlroy, who won the Open in 2014, told BBC.

“If I was to play the Irish Open, the Open Championship would be my third event in a row. For me, that’s not the best way to prepare for what could be the biggest event of my life.

“The people of Ireland are still going to see me playing golf because I’m going to play the Open Championship and I’m sure a lot of people will travel from down south to see me play.”

McIlroy is in the field at the WGC-Mexico Championship that begins later on Thursday.

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Mitch Phillips

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