The Irish Open host says that the top players now focus heavily on the Majors

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McGinley: McIlroy Skipping Irish Open “A Sign Of The Times”

Earlier this year Rory McIlroy announced that he’ll be missing the Irish Open and tournament host Paul McGinley doesn’t seem surprised with his decision after speaking to the BBC.

McIlroy is skipping his home event for the first time in his professional career in order to prepare for the Open Championship at Royal Portrush, as the Open visits his home country for the first time since 1951.

McGinley hosts the Irish Open at Lahinch this July and says that Rory’s decision to miss the event is a “sign of the times.”

“It was (a disappointment) but this is something we’re going to see more of going forward,” the 2014 European Ryder Cup captain told the BBC.

“The challenges the players have on the world schedule are huge. The amount of money they play for around the world is huge and the focus is very much going to be on Major Championships. I think it’s just a sign of the times.

“He (McIlroy) is not the only one, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka as well as Tiger Woods – look at his schedule right through his career – they don’t play a huge amount and they define everything around the major championships.

“The days of old when Seve, Faldo, Langer, Woosie and all the top players played in an Irish Open, those days are gone.”

Rory is playing in the Scottish Open the week prior to the Open but is opting to take the week before off, otherwise he would have played three weeks in a row.

He didn’t want to go Irish Open – week off – Open because he would like to play competitive links golf a week before he aims to secure a second Claret Jug on home soil.

“For me, that’s not the best way to prepare for what could be the biggest event of my life,” he said earlier this year.

“I love the Irish Open. I’ve supported it in my whole career,” he told BBC Northern Ireland.

“The people of Ireland are still going to see me playing golf because I’m going to play The Open Championship and I’m sure a lot of people will travel from down south to see me play.

“I’m going to make decisions that are the best thing for me. If that upsets anyone, then I’m sorry – that’s not my problem, that’s their problem.

“If I could pick one tournament to win this year, it would be Portrush. I would definitely have Augusta on the backburner.

“I never thought I would play a major in Northern Ireland. It would be the biggest achievement of my career if I was able to win it.”

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