Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)

The Loop

Even at 22, McIlroy says he needs the time off

July 01, 2011

Rory McIlroy's U.S. Open win has been career-altering enough that he's already taken some heat for not playing between Congressional and the Open Championship in two weeks. Yet McIlroy, in justifying a hiatus that has already included a visit to Wimbledon, says even at 22 he needs to shut it down on occasion.

In an appearance on CNN's "Piers Tonight with Piers Morgan, McIlroy said even at his impressionable age, he needs time to recharge his batteries.

"Time off and time away from the game is nearly as important as the time you practice, because if I play golf every day, you get stale, you go through the motions it becomes a little bit tedious," McIlroy said. "But once you go away from the game for a couple of weeks you get that freshness back, that determination and hunger that makes you want to practice."

But justifying a schedule was minor stuff compared to McIlroy having to address a couple of questions about Tiger Woods. First came McIlroy explaining why he no longer can feel intimidated by Woods (other than the fact that right now, he is playing and Woods is not).

Then came the squirm-in-your-seat topic of whether McIlroy will fall victim to the same type of temptation that befell Woods. Turns out McIlroy handled the subject deftly.

-- Sam Weinman