Rory McIlroy had planned to play last week’s event at Muirfield Village but after a slow start in the PGA Tour’s return from a COVID-19 break needed time off to hone his swing ahead of this week’s Memorial Tournament, he said on Wednesday.
After failing to crack the top-10 in three events he rarely plays, world number one McIlroy arranged to get his coach over to the United States.
“It was the first time I’d seen him since the start of February, so it was nice to spend some time with him and get some good work done and feel a bit better about my game and my swing going into this week,” McIlroy said at Muirfield Village, which also hosted last week’s Workday Charity Open.
While some players have said playing without spectators amid the COVID-19 outbreak has reduced the pressure they feel under, McIlroy believes playing on empty courses adds a new challenge.
“I felt the first three weeks my mind was wandering a little bit,” the Northern Irishman said. “Sort of easy to lose focus, easy to lose concentration. I think some of the mistakes I was making were because of that.”
McIlroy, who has four top-10 finishes in eight appearances at the Dublin, Ohio-based Memorial Tournament and will play the opening two rounds alongside five-times champion Tiger Woods, has not been too disappointed by his recent form.
“There was spells in that three weeks that I felt like my game was there. It was just maybe a little erratic. I’d make a dumb mistake here or there … just lapses in concentration,” McIlroy said.
“Looking back now, it was a great three weeks’ learning experience just knowing what I know now going forward.”