Rory McIlroy gets back to what he does best in Korea Open
Late-season itinerary will also take in tournaments in China, Dubai and Australia
Rory McIlroy finally gets back to playing tournament golf again this week in the Korea Open.
Rory McIlroy finally gets back to playing tournament golf again this week, his place in the field for the Korea Open – a tournament on the OneAsia circuit - secured by appearance fees reputedly in excess of €1 million.
Having failed to make the US Tour’s FedEx Cup Tour Championship finale, the Northern Irishman’s return to competitive play, his first outing since the BMW championship in Chicago a month ago, will kick-start a late-season itinerary that will also take in tournaments in China, Dubai and Australia as he bids to take the focus back onto the golf course.
The Korean Open will, in a way, act as a stepping stone towards more serious challenges in the coming weeks, as McIlroy, currently 60th in the Race to Dubai standings and on the bubble of qualifying for the European Tour’s season-ending DP World championship in Dubai next month, follows the trip to South Korea with appearances in next week’s BMW Masters in Lake Malaren, Shanghai, and the following week’s HSBC-WGC Champions in Sheshan, Shanghai.
In between those two big-money tournaments, which count towards the Race to Dubai, McIlroy has a one-day head-to-head challenge with world number one Tiger Woods in Mission Hills.
McIlroy yesterday departed for golfing fields far away on a day when his action against Horizon Sports Management were heard in the High Court in Dublin, with a date set for the Commercial Court in the autumn of next year.
McIlroy will be involved in the US Tour’s FedEx Cup series up to mid-September and will likely be a key player on Paul McGinley’s European team for the Ryder Cup defence against the USA at Gleneagles in late-September.
This week’s tournament in Korea – where he finished runner-up to Rickie Fowler last year – will be the starting point for a hectic itinerary to see out the year.
“I remember the course but the thing I remember most is that the par threes are tough. All aspects of your game have to be in shape, but especially iron play, considering the tough par threes,” said McIlroy, who is still searching to find a first win of what has been a mediocre season on the course. He has fallen from world number one down to sixth in the rankings.
“It hasn’t been the best season for me. I went through a few struggles early on but I felt like the game was coming around a bit. All I am looking to do is finish the season on a high and build some momentum for 2014,” said McIlroy.
Whilst two-time Major champion McIlroy has headed eastward to Asia to find his game, three-time Major champion Pádraig Harrington – who admitted in a weekend interview that he had a case of the putting yips last season – will seek to use the defence of his Grand Slam of Golf title in Bermuda as a late springboard to his season. The Dubliner has dropped to 101st in the latest world rankings.
Harrington, as the defending Grand Slam champion, was given first call on replacing British Open champion Phil Mickelson, who was unavailable, in the four-man field which is completed by Masters champion Adam Scott, US Open champion Justin Rose and US PGA champion Jason Dufner.
Harrington will move on from Bermuda to compete in next week’s BMW Masters in Shanghai, aware that he has work to do if he is to make it to the season-ending championship in Dubai next month.
Peter Lawrie and David Higgins compete in this week’s ISPS Handa Perth International which finishes the regular season on the PGA European Tour, with the top-110 players on the money list retaining full cards for the 2014 campaign.
Lawrie is currently in 114th position on the money list with Higgins, who has made a surge inside the past month in his bid to retain his full card, in 115th.