McIlroy reaffirms Australian Open defence

Alarm bells rang in the offices of Golf Australia when world No. 1 Rory McIlroy pulled the plug on two scheduled appearances in China.

They knew the success of their flagship event, the Emirates Australian Open, probably hinged on McIlroy’s presence.

Rory McIlroy Rory McIlroy (Credit: Anthony Powter)

The popular Irishman quickly allayed their fears when he confirmed he was required “elsewhere” to prepare himself for a scheduled court case early next year over a dispute with his former management company Horizon Sports Management.

Yet the four-time major winner has since assured officials he will be at The Australian next month to defend his Open title against the likes of Adam Scott and boom young American Jordan Spieth.

McIlroy was due to tee it up in this week’s BMW Masters as well as the following week’s WGC-HSBC Champions event, with both events to be played in Shanghai.

“I’m going to need time away from tournament golf to prepare for the trail over my legal dispute,” McIlroy revealed in a statement stating he would miss both the China events.

Yet the big-hitting McIlroy indicated he would still compete in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship beginning November 20 in Dubai.

He then plans to return to Sydney a week later to defend his Aussie Open crown.

“Rory’s only changes to his 2014 schedule is his appearance in the BMW Masters and the HSBC Champions,” said a spokesman for his management company, Rory McIlroy Inc.

“So it means Rory competing in the DP World Tour Championship and then travelling to Sydney to defend his Emirates Australian Open title.”

McIlroy came from a shot behind reigning Masters champion, Queensland’s Adam Scott to birdie the final hole while Scott bogeyed to hand McIlroy his only victory of 2013.