CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Asked to describe his disappointment about missing the cut at the Masters, after he entered the first major championship of the season as a favorite in early April, Rory McIlroy offered a blunt two-word answer Tuesday.
“It sucked. It sucked,” McIlroy said during his first meeting with reporters since missing the cut at Augusta National Golf Club. “It’s not the performance I obviously thought I was going to put up, nor was it the performance I wanted. Just incredibly disappointing. But I needed some time to regroup. And focus on what’s ahead.”
So much so that McIlroy probably sacrificed $3 million of the $12 million bonus he earned through the PGA Tour’s Player Impact Program in 2022 when he skipped the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, South Carolina, the next week.
McIlroy said he knew he would forfeit receiving the full balance of his bonus for failing to play in the RBC Heritage, a designated event with a $20 million purse.
“My mind wouldn’t have been there,” McIlroy said. “It was more important for me to be at home than there.”
Under new tour guidelines, top players are required to play in all but one of the new 12 designated events, not including the major championships and Players Championship. McIlroy had already skipped the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January. Top players who miss more than one will lose 25% of their PIP bonus.
“We certainly have our minimums,” McIlroy said. “We obviously signed up for this designated-event series this year. I obviously knew the consequences that could come with missing one of those. It was an easy decision, but I felt like if that fine or whatever is to happen was worth that for me in order to get some things in place.”
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan is permitted to waive the fine if a player gives a legitimate reason for withdrawing from a second designated event. The PGA Tour is eliminating the rule that requires players to compete in all but one next season.
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 Arabian-financed LIV Golf League.
“I had my reasons not to play Hilton Head,” McIlroy said. “I expressed those to Jay and whether he thinks that is enough to warrant. … 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 in this week’s Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club. He said he didn’t pick up his golf clubs for two weeks after failing for the ninth straight time to complete the career grand slam by winning the Masters. He spent a weekend in New York celebrating his anniversary with his wife, Erica.
“I think the last 12 months with everything that’s went on … it’s been a big 12 months,” McIlroy said. “I don’t know if I fully like sat down to really reflect on stuff. I never really had a chance to think about The Open at St. Andrews and everything that went on there.
“Just ton of different stuff, and it was nice to have three weeks to just put all that stuff in the rearview mirror and just sort of try to focus on what’s ahead: three more majors, the entire golf season still to play. It was a good three weeks to sort of do all that and get refreshed and get ready for the next three months.”