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Irish Open: Rory McIlroy to take rest before next Major bid

By Steven Beacom

Dejected Rory McIlroy refused to cite his off course Irish Open duties as an excuse for missing the cut at his home tournament.

It is the third year in a row that McIlroy has failed to make it through to the weekend of the Irish Open, but this was the hardest to take with Rory's charitable Foundation hosting the event.

He hit a level par round of 71 yesterday but failed to undo the damage of a horror 80 on Thursday, leaving him on nine over par, four shots adrift of what was required to make the cut and keep him involved today and tomorrow.

McIlroy, followed by huge galleries all day, was visibly gutted and his mood was matched by his fans, especially the 40,000 due to come to the Royal County Down course today and tomorrow, who now won't see the world number one in action, though he intends still being around.

He made it clear he would not be leaving Newcastle.

McIlroy's exit means that Northern Ireland hopes lie with Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke, who are both five over par, eight shots behind the leaders with six players locked on three under.

The Holywood star, with his commitment to the tournament, has had to host various functions this week with focus taken away from his golf.

When asked if juggling the demands had proved too much, McIlroy said: "It's not as difficult as you might think. It hasn't been that bad. 

"I'm definitely not using that as an excuse. It's disappointing to say the least and I'm more disappointed for the fans because their support is phenomenal."

For McIlroy this was his fifth tournament in a row and he was at pains to point out that the most enjoyable part of it was raising awareness and funds for his Foundation and the Cancer Fund for Children at the nearby Daisy Lodge, as well as attracting superstars such as Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler to play in his home country.

When quizzed on the positives of the last few days, he said: "About my golf game? Probably none. About everything else that we've done? There's obviously loads of positives.

"The Irish Open is now back to what it should be, and all the work that we've done with the Foundation and all the people that we're helping because of that, so there's loads of positives in that sense. But my golf game, not so much."

He aims to have that golf game back up to scratch in time for the US Open next month.

"I think this tournament fell at a pretty bad time in the schedule with it being the fifth tournament in a row for me," added McIlroy.

"In an ideal world, I would have came in here with a little bit of a different preparation I guess, but that's the way it is.

"Now I'm just going to enjoy these couple of weeks off I have now, and get ready to go for the next Major of the year at the US Open."

While he won't be playing over the weekend, McIlroy will still be around at Royal County Down and may even be involved in the presentation of the trophy tomorrow.

"I might have to show my face at a couple of things and you might see me on the 18th green on Sunday but apart from that, I'll just try to sort of get away from it a little bit and get refreshed," he said.

"I'm very disappointed. I wanted to come here and play well this week.

"Obviously I'm playing at home in front of a lot of friends and family, and obviously I got a lot of support out there.

"To not play the way I wanted to was very disappointing, but I'm sort of getting used to it.

"This is my third year in a row missing the cut in The Irish Open."

Belfast Telegraph

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