There is a possibility that reigning U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy won’t be skipping The Players next year after he indicated his desire to go house hunting in Florida after the PGA Championship.
Three months after he skipped the flagship event of the tour in May and weeks after he complained about the poor weather at the Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, England during the Open Championship, McIlroy said he is considering rejoining the 2012 PGA Tour.
“I feel as if I play my best golf over here,” McIlroy said after returning to the U.S. for the first time since his record-setting victory in the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional CC. “I’m very comfortable in this country. I’m definitely looking towards coming back and playing a full schedule over here.”
The 22-year old golfer from Northern Ireland may have won the U.S. Open in June but is ineligible to rejoin the Tour for the rest of the season since he gave up his membership in 2011 after he won the Quail Hollow Championship. He said he has spoken with tour officials Ross Berlin and Andy Pazder at the Firestone CC where he is competing in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Pazder said that after the tour’s season finale at Disney World’s Children’s Miracle Network Classic, McIlroy still had 30 days to commit and rejoin the tour without restriction.
“Obviously, we’re ecstatic about that [possibility],” said Pazder, the tour’s executive vice president and chief of operations. “Rory is an immense talent, and for a person to win the U.S. Open by eight shots, he captivated certainly the fans in the U.S. and frankly around the world. So to have him potentially as a member next year is very significant.”
McIlroy is planning to find a house near Orlando in Lake Nona where fellow Ulsterman Graeme McDowell has a home. Another factor in his decision is a change in his personal life, having been linked to romantically to top professional tennis player Caroline Wozniacki.
“No, it was the weather,” McIlroy said at Firestone, drawing laughs as he alluded to his comments at Royal St. George’s, when after finishing T-25 he said, “I’m not a fan of tournaments that the outcome is predicted so much by the weather … it’s not my sort of golf. I’m looking forward to getting back to America and getting back into some nice conditions. I’d rather play when it’s 80 degrees and sunny and not much wind … and there’s no point in changing your game for one week a year.”
“I just thought about it. I feel as if my game really suits playing courses over here,” he said. “I love Quail Hollow, Memorial, Akron. You play Match Play, Honda, Doral, the Masters. You have your favorite events, and most of my favorite events seem to be on this side of the pond. And my game suits it over here. I’m very comfortable over here.
“I’d like to give it a go again, and obviously last more than one year, and really see how it goes.”