Rory McIlroy rules himself out of Irish Open at Galgorm Castle

The 2016 winner says he won’t travel for the forseeable as he prepares for FedEx Cup

Rory McIlroy has confirmed he will not compete in this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open or any other tournaments outside the United States for the foreseeable future.

The Irish Open has been switched from Mount Juliet to Galgorm Castle in McIlroy’s native Northern Ireland and takes place the week after the US Open at Winged Foot.

However, an article in the Belfast Telegraph on Thursday reported that two staff members at the resort have tested positive for Covid-19. In a statement the resort said that the cases were asymptomatic and had been picked up thanks to "its own robust testing procedures" while safety measures for guests and staff had been increased.

The resort remains open and plans continue for the Irish Open which is set to get underway in just over a month.


It forms part of a second “UK Swing” on the European Tour with the subsequent ASI Scottish Open and BMW PGA Championship, but McIlroy is not interested in overseas travel during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m planning to stay in the States, I don’t see myself travelling internationally for a while,” McIlroy said in a press conference ahead of the Northern Trust at TPC Boston, the first FedEx Cup play-off event.

“I’m playing four of the next five weeks with that last week being a major championship.

“It might be different if there could be fans there and stuff, but it’s behind closed doors and it’s not an Irish Open like we’re used to it being the last few years with obviously big prize funds and everything.

“But not even that, (it’s) just the fact that I just want to spend time at home and not travel too much the next few months.”

With numerous tournaments in the Far East being cancelled or postponed, the CJ Cup is rumoured to be among the events which could temporarily relocate to the United States and McIlroy sounds interested in taking part.

The 31-year-old said: “If they were to do that, I don’t want to diminish the tournaments, but it’s a gap-filler, right?

“You play US Open, you play those couple on the west coast and then you play The Masters. That sounds like a wonderful fall (autumn) schedule to me.

“I think everyone now is seeing the end of the season as after The Masters. The Masters in November I think has taken the place of one of those Race to Dubai events in Europe.”

Two-time winner McIlroy has dropped to eighth in the FedEx Cup standings after failing to register a top-10 finish since golf’s resumption in June, but has also won twice at TPC Boston and is hoping a better attitude will pay dividends.

“I’ve got this nice quote that I got from someone last week; don’t let your golf influence your attitude, let your attitude influence your golf,” added McIlroy, who admits he has struggled to focus while playing events without spectators.

“That’s where I’ve been sort of a little crossed recently where I’ve been letting my golf influence my attitude on the course instead of the other way around, because if you go out there with a good attitude, that will hopefully help your golf game.

“I think going out there with a bit of a better attitude, not being as reactive to misses or certain shots, will definitely be better for me going forward as we enter this big stretch of golf.”