McIlroy returns to US for 7-week build-up to Augusta
Rory McIlroy has returned to the PGA Tour this week for his third straight appearance in the Farmers Insurance Open, and what will also be the first of six events in a seven-week stretch in the US.
McIlroy wasted little time leaving behind the disappointing, by his standards, third place finish at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship to arrive at the Torrey Pines course laid out along the bright, blue Pacific Ocean.
Rory McIlroy (Credit: PGA Tour)
And while foremost on the mind of the current World No. 7 is his first taste of victory since November 2019, McIlroy is also mindful of his build-up to the 2021 Masters.
- Jan 28-31: Farmers Insurance Open, Torrey Pines, CA
- Feb 4-7: Waste Management Phoenix Open, TPC Scottsdale, AZ
- Week Off
- Feb 18-21: The Genesis Invitational, Riviera CC, Pacific Palisades, CA
- Feb 25-28: WGC at The Concession, Bradenton, FL
- Mar 4-7: Arnold Palmer Invitational, Bay Hill, Orlando, FL
- Mar 11-14: The Players Championship, TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedre, FL
The decision to drop amateur partners means McIlroy will not contest the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am but he is adding for the first time ever the previous week’s 5,000 spectators limited per day Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The sixth event of his run over seven weeks will see him returning to the Players Championship where he was defending champion a year ago only for the tournament to be cancelled.
It was not until June 11th when the Tour finally re-emerged from the COVID-19 related lockdown.
“I felt like I had a pretty quiet fall…and then took nine weeks off after the Masters,” said McIlroy at the Farmers where he opened with a 4-under 68 to lie in a share of 21st place.
“So, I just wanted to get back out and play. It felt like I stopped last year on quite a positive note the way I played at Augusta and I just wanted to keep that going into the start of this year.”
“I feel like the more I play the more I’ll get comfortable with my game and know where it is.”
Of course, there’s no denying Augusta, Georgia is very much on McIlroy’s mind in just over nine weeks from now in what will hopefully be lucky ‘No. 13’ in looking to win the one Major to elude the current 31-year-old.
“Obviously Augusta, it’s still very fresh in the memory, it’s only two tournaments ago,” he said. “I played Abu Dhabi last week and before that was Augusta.”
“Again, as I said before, I’m just trying to play the golf course that’s in front of me this week, which is Torrey Pines, and next week I’ll try to do the same at Scottsdale.”