Fair play or a lack of loyalty? Golf fans split over Rory McIlroy's decision to skip Irish Open ahead of the Open Championship at Royal Portrush
Rory McIlroy's decision not to tee it up at this summer's Irish Open has been met by a mixed response from his legion of home supporters.
The world number eight has openly made mounting a serious challenge at this summer's Open Championship his top priority. The tournament is returning to Northern Ireland after an absence of 68 years and McIlroy knows that playing for arguably the biggest prize in golf on home turf could be the biggest week of his career.
It's through that prism that his choice to skip Lahinch was made. And with the Claret Jug in sight, the Open factor has bought the Holywood hero favour from some golf fans who back his decision as smart-thinking.
He's put the work in over the last four years increasing the calibre of the Irish Open.— Paul Daniel Rafferty (@rafferty_paul) February 21, 2019
If @McIlroyRory wants to concentrate on his "own game" fair play to him.
I for one am looking forward to him keeping me up for more tense late Sunday night viewing.#IrishOpen #Open #Golf
Hes going to have enough pressure on him at Portrush !I think he should be allowed to prepare whatever way he wants !!— F1 Fanatic #TeamLH (@JayneBYoung) February 21, 2019
However, some supporters felt that McIlroy's decision should have been made with more consideration for the Irish Open and tournament host Paul McGinley.
No loyalty to Ireland or his home tournament when he not fronting it. Don’t see how not playing will help his chance of winning The Open which will be played in the same country on links course also just 2 wks later? Disappointing for @LahinchGolfClub & @Irish_Open— Gearoid Roughan (@GearoidRoughan) February 21, 2019
Very disappointing after 4 years sponsoring the event— Kilbride Boxing (@BoxingKilbride) February 21, 2019
Rory McIlroy’s decision not to play in the Irish Open in Lahinch is a real slap in the face to everyone in Irish Golf - there are 52 weeks in a year 🤷♂️- surely he can fit one event in the land of his birth into his schedule- ridiculous and unfortunately typical of Rory— Sylvester Hennessy (@Slyone1069) February 21, 2019
McIlroy did concede that his decision was likely to be a magnet for some negative reactions but insisted that the prospect of a second Open Championship victory was worth it all.
Belfast Telegraph Digital