For the second year in succession, Arnold Palmer has expressed his disappointment that Rory McIlroy has decided not to play in the PGA Tour event bearing his name this week.
Twelve months ago, McIlroy had just been deposed as world number one by Luke Donald when the European pair were absent from the prestigious Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. McIlroy could again be knocked off the top of the rankings by defending champion Tiger Woods, but the 23-year-old has stuck with his original schedule.
Palmer said: "I was kind of kidding when somebody said is he playing? And I said, well, if he doesn't, I'm going to break his arm. But it was meant in jest, and it was strictly a passing remark. Frankly, I thought he was going to play, and I was as surprised as a lot of people when he decided he was not going to play. I've had conversations, brief conversations with him some time ago, not recently, about his playing."
McIlroy had considered adding Bay Hill to his schedule following his much-publicised struggles this year, but shot a closing 65 in the WGC-Cadillac Championship won by Woods and will play just once more at the Houston Open at the end of the month before the US Masters in April.