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McIlroy hints at skipping Desert Classic

World No 1 likely to scale down European Tour commitments

  • Caroline Wozniacki with boyfriend Rory McIlroy during the DP World Tour Championship presentation ceremony.Image Credit: Francois Nel/Gulf News
  • Rory McIlroy ended his double money-list winning year with victory at this weekend’s season-ending DP World ToImage Credit: Reuters
Gulf News

Dubai: Rory McIlroy has hinted that he won’t be playing in the Dubai Desert Classic next year, as he looks to prioritise his commitments in both the US PGA and European Tour.

The double-major winning World No 1 who ended his double money-list winning year with victory at this weekend’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship, has confirmed he’ll play the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship on January 17 to 20.

He made his comments after making up five strokes over the last five holes of the season to deny a late course record surge from Justin Rose and win two strokes clear at 23 under par.

It was his fifth win of the season over both tours and the tenth of his career. The first of his career wins came aged 19 at the 2009 Dubai Desert Classic, following a long association with his sponsors Dubai-based hotel group Jumeirah who took a chance on the youngster.

Dubai has remained the Northern Irishman’s home-from-home, with him playing the emirate’s flagship event every year since starting the event as an amateur in 2006. “Scheduling is very important,” McIlroy said. “I’ve learnt that this year. What takes it out of you most sometimes is being in contention, feeling the pressure and adrenaline on Sundays and having to get yourself back up for the next week.

“That takes more out of you than going and finishing 30th and 40th every week. I feel like scheduling is going to be a big thing for me going forward. I’ll maybe not play quite as many tournaments and feel fresh and ready every time I tee up.

“If I do feel that way for every tournament that I enter, I have a better chance to win.”

He added: “I’ve done my schedule. I’m sticking to it and I’m not letting anyone persuade me to go anywhere else. I’ve learned my lesson over the last couple of years and I’m going to stick to what I’ve planned to do. So far, I’ve scheduled Abu Dhabi, Match Play, Honda, Doral and Houston. I think that’s it.”

In what appeared to be an acknowledgement that he was about to scale back his European Tour participation and focus even more so on the PGA Tour, McIlroy added: “The European Tour is still very strong. We have got some of the best players in the world that play on this Tour.

“There are so many strong players on this tour, there will continue to be strong players and there will be strong players coming through.”