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McIlroy explains great escape

Rory McIlroy has spoken about the need to escape from golf - as he controversially did last week even though a world championship was being played.

The world number one returns to action at the Barclays Singapore Open on Thursday. Skipping the HSBC Champions in China brought him criticism, especially as he was in the country at the start of the week for a head-to-head with Tiger Woods that was rumoured to have earned each of them a seven-figure sum.

McIlroy, who instead chose to fly to Bulgaria to watch girlfriend Carolina Wozniacki play tennis, said on Wednesday: "It's a big event, it's a tough one to miss. I need those weeks where I can just completely escape from this, from my life."

He added: "I forget where I am, what I do, I'm completely away from it and those weeks are very helpful for me.

"You see some guys out there, golf is everything, their life - of course it's my life and I'm very lucky too - but sometimes you need to step away from it.

"Spending time with Caroline helps me to do that. That's the biggest challenge for us going forward.

"I can't play every week. If I had I would have played five in a row finishing the season and after playing Turkey and Ryder Cup and all the FedEx Cup stuff - it's just too much."

While he was off last week it was confirmed by Titleist that their association with McIlroy is ending.

He is thought to be switching to Nike for a reported £156million over 10 years, but the 23-year-old Northern Irishman was not about to discuss that when he spoke to reporters at the Sentosa club - and even cast doubt over whether it is a done deal yet.

"I'm a Titleist player until the end of the year. I've made no commitment to any company going for next year," he stated. "It's a process we're working through and you'll probably hear about it in the next few weeks."

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