The four-time Major winner has confirmed that he will miss the Irish Open for the first time since 2007

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Rory McIlroy To Miss Irish Open

Rory McIlroy has confirmed that he is skipping this year’s Irish Open to help keep him fresh ahead of what is the ‘biggest event of his life’ at the Open in his home country of Northern Ireland.

It was already thought that the four-time Major winner would be skipping his home Open (Ireland/Northern Ireland play under the same golfing union) and this is now confirmed.

The Irish Open comes two weeks before The Open, with the Scottish Open in between.

Rory will play in Scotland this year at the Renaissance Club as he is playing the week before Majors in 2019.

McIlroy told BBC Northern Ireland, “If there is ever a year when I feel I can miss this Irish Open, it’s this year.

“If I was to play the Irish Open, The Open Championship would be my third event in a row.

McIlroy was the star attraction at Ballyliffin last year. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

“For me, that’s not the best way to prepare for what could be the biggest event of my life.

McIlroy had previously hosted the Irish Open from 2015-2018 and won the title in 2016 at the K Club.

This will be the first year since 2007 that he hasn’t played in the tournament.

This year’s event is hosted by Paul McGinley and takes place at Lahinch Golf Club in Co. Clare.

McIlroy says he isn’t “belittling” or “discrediting” the event by skipping it.

He won the tournament in 2016. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

“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 sure people are going to be upset but at the same time, if it means that it gives me a better chance to win The Open, and prepare well for Portrush, I’m going to do it.

“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.”

The Open returns to Royal Portrush this year for the first time since 1951.

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