McIlroy says he may rejoin PGA Tour in 2012
AKRON, Ohio - Rory McIlroy is going house hunting in Florida after the PGA Championship. He likes the weather and all.
Guess that means he won't be skipping The Players next year.
McIlroy, the reigning U.S. Open champion, said Wednesday that he is considering rejoining the PGA Tour in 2012 after relinquishing his card this year. The decision comes just three months after skipping the tour's flagship event in May and less than three weeks after he complained about the poor weather at the Open Championship at Royal St. George's in Sandwich, England.
"I feel as if I play my best golf over here," McIlroy said after returning to the U.S. for the first time since his record-setting victory in the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional CC. "I'm very comfortable in this country. I'm definitely looking towards coming back and playing a full schedule over here."
McIlroy, 22, from Northern Ireland, said he spoke with tour officials Andy Pazdur and Ross Berlin earlier in the day at Firestone CC, where he is competing in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Though he won the U.S. Open in June, he is ineligible to rejoin the tour for the remainder of this season because he gave up his membership in 2011 following a successful 2010 season in which he won the Quail Hollow Championship and finished 36th in the FedEx Cup.
Pazdur said McIlroy has 30 days following the completion of the tour's season finale, the Children's Miracle Network Classic at Disney World, before he has to commit. McIlroy can rejoin the tour without restrictions.
"Obviously, we're ecstatic about that [possibility]," said Pazder, the tour's executive vice president and chief of operations. "Rory is an immense talent, and for a person to win the U.S. Open by eight shots, he captivated certainly the fans in the U.S. and frankly around the world. So to have him potentially as a member next year is very significant."
McIlroy, who will make his final U.S. start at next week's PGA Championship in Atlanta, said he was leaning towards finding a residence at Lake Nona, near Orlando, where fellow Ulsterman Graeme McDowell, the 2010 U.S. Open champion, has a home. He admitted that a change in his personal life - he has been romantically linked to top professional tennis player Caroline Wozniacki after splitting with longtime girlfriend Holly Sweeney - also was a factor.
But it's really about the golf.
"No, it was the weather," McIlroy said at Firestone, drawing laughs as he alluded to his comments at Royal St. George's, when after finishing T-25 he said, "I'm not a fan of tournaments that the outcome is predicted so much by the weather ... it's not my sort of golf. I'm looking forward to getting back to America and getting back into some nice conditions. I'd rather play when it's 80 degrees and sunny and not much wind ... and there's no point in changing your game for one week a year."
No, seriously, it really is about the golf for McIlroy, who used his high-flying power game to dismantle a rain-softened Congressional with a 16-under 268 aggregate total, one of his many records.
"I just thought about it. I feel as if my game really suits playing courses over here," he said. "I love Quail Hollow, Memorial, Akron. You play Match Play, Honda, Doral, the Masters. You have your favorite events, and most of my favorite events seem to be on this side of the pond. And my game suits it over here. I'm very comfortable over here.
"I'd like to give it a go again, and obviously last more than one year, and really see how it goes."
-- Dave Shedloski
(Photo by Getty Images)