Rory McIlroy defended his decision not to play competitive golf between his record-setting U.S. Open victory last month and next week’s British Open.
The 22-year-old from Northern Ireland decided on the break after the fanfare of his eight-shot victory at Congressional Golf Club in Maryland, where he set 12 tournament records. Former European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie was among those who questioned the strategy of taking off the entire time between the two majors.
“Some people may have wondered why I chose to go straight from one major to another without anything in between and the answer is simple,” McIlroy said on his website. “Because of what happened at Congressional and the way it became such a big deal, I wanted to get everything out of the way and sorted out so that when I did start playing again I could just concentrate on golf.”
McIlroy said the break gave him a chance “to do some things I wouldn’t normally have done.” Among them was watching friend Rafael Nadal play at Wimbledon and attending the Wladimir Klitschko-David Haye heavyweight title fight in Germany.
He said he didn’t touch a golf club for 10 days after the U.S. Open, then just hit balls on the range. After practicing the past two days at the British Open site at Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, England, he’s ready for the challenge of being a major winner.
“It’s back to business from now on and time to forget all about my U.S. Open victory,” he said. “I honestly don’t really know what to expect at Sandwich because it will be the first time I have played anywhere as a major champion. It will be interesting and I’m really looking forward to it.”