Rory McIlroy rejects £1.3m PGA Tour prize days after £3.1m opportunity | Golf | Sport

Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy won’t be in the field at the Rocket Mortgage Classic this weekend, giving up any shot at the £1.3million grand prize. The Northern Irishman is still recovering from his calamitous collapse at Pinehurst, where he lost the US Open title to Bryson DeChambeau in heart-breaking fashion.

McIlroy, 35, announced he would be taking a break from golf following his capitulation in North Carolina. And he’s remaining true to his word after his name was omitted from the 156-man field competing at Detroit Golf Club from Thursday.

In a statement released just after his runner-up finish at the US Open, he said: “I’m going to take a few weeks away from the game to process everything and build myself back up for my defense at the Genesis Scottish Open and The Open at Royal Troon. See you in Scotland.”

McIlroy’s latest swerve comes one week after he gave up his chance at the £3.1m winner’s cheque on offer at the Travelers Championship last weekend. Scottie Scheffler continued his blistering run of PGA Tour form by beating Tom Kim in a playoff to collect his sixth victory of 2024 thus far.

The American is the first golfer to win six PGA Tour events in a single season since Tiger Woods did so in 2009 – and he’s got time to add to that tally. As such, Scheffler will also be missing in Michigan as he takes a break of his own.

The other big names skipping the chance to compete in the Motor City include Xander Schauffele, Ludvig Aberg and Wyndham Clark. That promises to open up the field considerably as some of the PGA Tour’s lower-profile stars compete for the crown.

Despite his decision to give the competition a miss, fans in Michigan may not be surprised by McIlroy’s choice. He hasn’t contested any of the previous five editions of the tournament, which held its inaugural competition in 2019.

The world No2 has already won twice on the PGA Tour thus far in 2024. He bagged £1m for triumphing in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans alongside partner Shane Lowry, then took home £3.1m for topping the leaderboard at the Wells Fargo Championship a fortnight later.

McIlroy has a little less than three weeks before his planned return to major action at Royal Troon. The Open will mark the end of the major calendar and offers a final chance for McIlroy to end his hunt for one of the big four on favourable turf.

The veteran lifted the Claret Jug in 2014 and has finished sixth or higher in six of his last eight appearances at The Open. And he’ll hope skipping competitions like the Rocket Mortgage Classic will help him conserve energy for a more concerted effort in Scotland.

Other names in the Detroit field will almost certainly be glad to see one less superstar in their midst. The likes of Kim, Cameron Young and defending champion Rickie Fowler in particular stand to benefit as they rise as frontrunners for a seven-figure payday.

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