LONDON (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy will play in next week’s British Masters after the four times major winner failed to qualify for the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
The European Tour confirmed on Monday that the Northern Irishman will join tournament host Lee Westwood and U.S. Masters champion Lee Garcia at the Close House course near Newcastle upon Tyne.
It will be McIlroy’s fourth appearance at the British Masters, which he previously played in 2005, 2007 and 2008 before the tournament went off schedule for five years from 2009.
“I kind of had it in the back of my mind that if I didn’t make the Tour Championship then there was a chance to tee it up at Close House, so I have decided to do that before finishing my season off the next week at the Dunhill Links,” he told the Tour website (www.europeantour.com).
“Teeing it up next week gives me one more chance to end 2017 on a high as well,” he added.
“If I can sign off the year with a win or two in Newcastle and then St Andrews I would take so many positives into my six-week recovery period when I am going to reset mentally and physically and concentrate on getting myself in the right shape for next year.”
McIlroy has slipped to eighth in the latest world rankings after what is looking like becoming only his second winless season since turning professional.
Hampered with rib and back injuries, the 28-year-old said last month that he planned to take three months off at the end of the year to get fully fit.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge