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Another Missed Cut Leaves McIlroy With An Irish Open Dilemna

Another Missed Cut Leaves McIlroy With An Irish Open Dilemna
By Daniel Kelly Updated

Rory McIlroy's love-hate relationship with the Irish Open has continued for another year.

The world number four, now in his third year of hosting the tournament, has missed the cut for the fourth time in the past five years. Of course, his solitary weekend appearance in that period led to victory at The K Club last year.

After shooting a level-par round of 72 on Thursday, he followed it up with a 73. He only scored six birdies in two two rounds amid calm conditions in Portstewart.

Speaking ahead of this week's event in a press conference on Wednesday, McIlroy said he was coming to terms with how to prepare for the tournament, despite having numerous charity and media obligations ahead of the event.

I think I learnt a lot at County Down in 2015 of what I can and can't handle in terms of what I put on my plate for the week.

I think it's almost like I split the week into two parts. Monday to Wednesday, I get everything that I need to get done, whether it's the night last night [with Pep Guardiola in Belfast] or obviously all of this stuff, all of the stuff outside of playing and practicing and preparing to play the golf tournament.

But then once I sort of get Wednesday over and done with, it's purely golf and I just want to play as best I can. I think if I can play well and get myself into contention, it's a great thing for me, but it's also a great thing for everyone else; someone that's local, a top player, creates interest and it's great for the tournament.

From tomorrow onwards, it's just about the golf and trying to play as best I can and trying to win.

Speaking after he shot a 73 to RTÉ Sport, the 28-year-old refused to make any excuses for his hosting duties causing another missed cut.

It doesn't let me prepare in the way I would like to. But at the same time, I played a lot of golf last week and I felt that I was ready coming into this week.

I don't want to make it an excuse. I don't think it is an excuse. I played well in the Pro-Am. I've played well leading up to this event and in practice. I just didn't put it together when I needed to.

McIlroy will be involved on Sunday despite missing the cut, but it will be in a role he last held in 2015, when he presented winner Soren Kjeldsen with the Irish Open trophy.

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When winning last year's event in Kildare, the emotion McIlroy showed made clear how much the tournament means to him.

On Sunday, the winner will receive just over €1million. As recently as 2011, Irish Open winner Simon Dyson earned €250,000. That increase is not solely down to McIlroy, but he has played a massive part in the tournament's resurgence.

The charities that benefit from the tournament are clearly close to McIlroy's heart. They benefit from his selflessness, but as we saw last year the hype around the tournament increases if he is involved at the weekend.

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McIlroy does not need to be winning the event every year, but the talent is clearly there to thrive in the tournament he can now call his own.

See Also: Rory McIlroy Explained How He Became Friends With Pep Guardiola

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