(Reuters) - Rory McIlroy will have three months off at the end of the year in an effort to get fully healthy and fine-tune his game for 2018, the Northern Irishman said on Wednesday.
Speaking on the eve of the Northern Trust, the first FedExCup playoff event on New York’s Long Island, McIlroy described it as a rare chance to take an extended break.
The news will disappoint to the European Tour, which will stage its end-of-season Race to Dubai in November without the tour’s biggest drawcard.
But McIlroy, winless in 2017, is eyeing the big picture.
“To have three months I can focus on myself, my health, my game, and just improvement, I don’t think I’m ever going to get a chance like this in my career again, where I get this opportunity to re-evaluate things, work on some stuff and just try and improve and get better,” he told reporters at the Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury.
“I feel it’s a tremendous opportunity to improve as a golfer and with my health and everything. I’m excited to play these next few weeks but I’ve already sat down with my team and we have a three-month plan going forward.
“I’m getting a lot of testing and assessments done 19th and 20th October and then... we’ll be focussing on getting me in (the) best possible shape with my body and game going into 2018.”
McIlroy, hampered this year with a back injury, said the problem had been more of a hindrance than the 2015 ruptured left ankle ligament than prevented him from defending his British Open crown.
After this month’s PGA Championship, he said he was thinking of skipping the entire PGA Tour four-event playoff series, but subsequently decided to defend his title, before ending his year at the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship at St. Andrews.
“(I will) start to hit balls the end of November and then work on some technical stuff and when we get to January hit the ground running and hopefully have an injury free, stress free, very successful year.”
Four-times major champion McIlroy has not won any of the four biggest tournaments since 2014.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Pritha Sarkar