Mark SchlapachSenior writer for ESPN3 minutes to read
CHARLOTTE, NC — When asked to describe his disappointment about missing out on the Masters tournament, Rory McIlroy, after entering his first major tournament of the season as a favorite in early April, gave a candid two-word answer on Tuesday.
“It sucked,” McIlroy said during his first interview with reporters since missing the cut at Augusta National Golf Club. “It wasn’t the performance I thought I was going to give, and it wasn’t the performance I wanted. Just incredibly disappointing. But I needed some time to regroup. Focus on what lies ahead.”
So much so, that McIlroy may have sacrificed $3 million of the $12 million bonus he earned through the PGA Tour’s Player Impact Program in 2022 when he skipped RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, South Carolina, the following week.
McIlroy said he knew he would forfeit the full balance of his bonus for failing to play in the RBC Heritage, a $20 million purse-appointed event.
“My brain just wasn’t there,” McIlroy said. “It was more important to me to be home than there.”
Under the new tour guidelines, top players are required to play in all but one of the 12 new designated events, with the exception of the Grand Slam and The Players Championship. McIlroy had already moved past the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January. Top players who lose more than 1 player will lose 25% of their PIP bonus.
“We definitely have the bottom line,” McIlroy said. “Obviously, we signed up for this particular series of events this year. I obviously knew the consequences of missing out on one of these events. It was an easy decision, but I felt that if it was good or anything that would happen it would be worth it for me than To get some stuff.”
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan is allowed to waive the fine if the player gives a legitimate reason for withdrawing from another specified event. The PGA Tour is repealing the rule that requires players to compete in all but one of the upcoming seasons.
McIlroy and 15-time major champion Tiger Woods were among the players who helped Monahan reshape the PGA Tour schedule in response to the threat of the Saudi Arabia-funded LIV golf tournament.
“I had reasons not to play Hilton Head,” McIlroy said. “I expressed it to Jay and whether he thinks that’s enough to justify him… You know, look again, I understood the consequences of that decision before I made it, so whatever happens, happens.”
McIlroy will make his first start since the Masters at this week’s Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club. He said he did not pick up his golf clubs for two weeks after failing for the ninth consecutive time to complete a Grand Slam by winning the Masters title. He spent the weekend in New York to celebrate his birthday with his wife, Erica.
“I think the last 12 months with everything that’s happened … has been a big 12 months,” McIlroy said. “I don’t know if I quite like sitting down to think about things. I haven’t really had a chance to think about St Andrews and everything that happened there.
“Just a lot of different things, and it was nice to only have three weeks to put all that stuff in the rearview mirror and try to focus on what lies ahead: three more majors, and the whole golf season still playing. Three weeks is a good three weeks to kind of do all that.” And recovery and preparation for the next three months.”