Rory McIlroy commits to next year’s Irish Open at The K Club

World number two hosted and won the tournament the last time it was staged at the Co Kildare venue

Rory McIlroy has given an early commitment to teeing up in next year’s Horizon Irish Open at The K Club in Straffan, Co Kildare, where he lifted the trophy – as tournament host – back in 2016, when he donated the his €666,000 winner’s cheque back to charity.

The world number two acted as tournament host for four years from 2015 to 2018 but has since missed three stagings, in 2019 (in Lahinch), 2020 (in Galgorm Castle) and last week’s 2022 tournament at Mount Juliet.

“I’ll play next year. This year it was just going to be hard for me because I had already committed to four-in-a-row in the States and then knowing I was playing [the JP McManus Pro-Am].

“My attitude to it is, ‘okay, I’m not playing the Irish Open but I’m still playing in Ireland around the same time and I’m going to try and go out there and play in front of the Irish fans, so they are getting an opportunity to come out and watch me and all the others play’,” said McIlroy.

“So, that was my attitude this year. But next year I’m not going to do that four-in-a-row [on the PGA Tour]. I will have a week off after the US Open [at the Country Club in Los Angeles] and most likely then I’ll come back and play at The K Club. That’s the plan,” said McIlroy, speaking to BBC Northern Ireland.

Jon Rahm, a two-time winner (at Portstewart in 2017 and Lahinch in 2019), is unsure when he will compete in the Irish Open in his attempt to join Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer and Colin Montgomerie as three-time winners of the tournament.

“Now the scheduling and family is getting a bit more in the way. I definitely want to come back. I don’t know what I’m doing after the [FedEx Cup] playoffs, let alone what I’m going to be doing next summer. I love playing in Ireland. I will be back some day,” said the Spaniard.

Philip Reid

Philip Reid

Philip Reid is Golf Correspondent of The Irish Times