Rory McIlroy in ‘better headspace’ after break; Tour stands by $3M fine

Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Network

Rory McIlroy said he is in a better place after taking three weeks off to address his “mental and emotional well-being.”

McIlroy stepped away from competitive golf after missing the cut at The Masters. He then told Barstool that his absence from the RBC Heritage was “due to personal reasons,” however it’s all systems go for the 33-year-old Northern Ireland star at this week’s Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C.

“I needed a break for me,” McIlroy told Golf Channel on Tuesday. “Obviously, after the disappointment of Augusta, and it’s been a pretty taxing 12 months mentally, so it was nice to just try to disconnect and get away from it. But it’s nice to come back and feel refreshed.

“I think I’m in a better headspace than I was. … Yeah, you know, that run-up to Augusta is always a stressful enough couple of weeks trying to make sure everything’s in the right order and making sure your game’s in good shape. I think for me it was a nice reset because I still had to realize that there’s three more majors this year, there’s a ton left to play for.”

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan confirmed Wednesday that the “consequence” of McIlroy forfeiting $3 million, or one-fourth of his Player Impact Program bonus, was not open for debate.

“When we made the commitment to this schedule with the Player Impact Program, we adjusted for one opt-out,” Monahan said. “Then for any second opt-out, you forfeit the 25 percent, unless there was a medical issue. Based on that criteria, it’s actually fairly cut-and-dry.”

Monahan said the RBC event would remain on the schedule and will not be moved next season.

But the Tour is making changes to its position on the player penalty structure and won’t require players to compete in 11 of the 12 designated events, which doesn’t include the Players Championship or four majors.

“When we announce the schedule itself and you look at the cadence, you look at the consequence in terms of FedEx Cup points, you look at what the purse sizes are going to be, you look at the concentration of top players and them having the ability to compete against each other in those field sizes, my confidence is high,” Monahan said. “Does that mean that every single week every single player is going to show up? I think in our model there will likely be things that happen — injuries and extenuating circumstances.”

McIlroy is a three-time winner of the Wells Fargo Championship (2010, 2015, 2021) and is the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 3. He set the tournament scoring record of 267 in 2015.

–Field Level Media

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