McIlroy might not play 2011 Players Championship to focus on Europe

rory mcilroy
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Rory Mcilroy's appearance at TPC Sawgrass last spring might be his last one for a while.
Mark Garrod
PA Sport


Published: Wednesday, November 24, 2010 | 5:42 p.m.

The biggest first prize in golf might not be enough to attract Rory McIlroy next year.

The 21-year-old Northern Irishman revealed on Wednesday that he is not certain to compete in the Players Championship -- often dubbed golf's "unofficial fifth major" -- in May.

Having already decided not to continue as a member of the PGA Tour, the world No. 9 would set more alarm bells ringing if he skips its flagship event.

"Not sure," was McIlroy's answer on being asked whether he would return to TPC Sawgrass next May. "I don't like the golf course for a start. Not to say The Players isn't a great event -- it's very prestigious and it would be great to win it one day -- but it just might not suit the schedule next year.

"I'm going to play Quail Hollow the week before (he is the defending champion) and then there are big tournaments in Europe,” he explained. "You have the World Match Play (in Spain the following week) and then the BMW PGA Championship (at Wentworth) straight after. They are two big events in the Race to Dubai and I want to try to win that."

Asked what he did not like about Sawgrass, McIlroy added: "It's a Pete Dye course and I find it very awkward off the tee.

"You're hitting across fairways all the time. It creates angles and visually it's very tough off the tee,” he explained. "He makes you feel uncomfortable because it looks like you've only got a little bit of fairway to hit, but actually once you get up there it's a little bit wider."

McIlroy has missed the cut in both his previous appearances at The Players.