Skip to main content

McIlroy prepares for PGA Tour return ... with a holiday

By Sheena McKenzie, for CNN
updated 12:51 PM EDT, Thu May 3, 2012
The secret to success? A holiday, according to top golfer Rory McIlroy.
The secret to success? A holiday, according to top golfer Rory McIlroy.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy returns to PGA Tour after a disappointing Masters,
  • Instead of training, the 22-year-old went on a holiday with girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki
  • McIlroy cuts down his schedule of events, saying he doesn't want to burn out
  • The Northern Irishman is feeling confident at Quail Hollow, where he won in 2010

(CNN) -- After finishing tied for 40th at the Masters in April, Rory McIlroy might have been expected to throw himself into a punishing training regime.

After all, golf's U.S. Open champion was one of the tipsters' favorites to take the title in Augusta. But the 22-year-old Northern Irishman, so often hyped as the next Tiger Woods, failed to erase memories of his nightmare collapse at the same tournament 12 months previously.

But McIlroy didn't brood. He didn't even pick up a club. Instead the world No. 2 flew to Europe for a vacation with his girlfriend, Danish tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.

They holidayed in Copenhagen and Nice. And even flew to Belfast to watch Ulster's rugby team take on Leinster. Somehow they found the time to meet Britain's Queen Elizabeth at a horse racing event.

Wells Fargo Championship leaderboard

Rory McIlroy has risen to the top of golf's world rankings after winning the Honda Classic in Florida on Sunday. It caps a remarkable rise for the 22-year-old Northern Irishman in recent years. Here he is as a 14-year-old playing at the Boys Home Internationals at the Royal St David's Golf Club in Wales in August 2003. Rory McIlroy has risen to the top of golf's world rankings after winning the Honda Classic in Florida on Sunday. It caps a remarkable rise for the 22-year-old Northern Irishman in recent years. Here he is as a 14-year-old playing at the Boys Home Internationals at the Royal St David's Golf Club in Wales in August 2003.
From junior champion to world beater
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
>
>>
Top of the world: The rise and rise of Rory Top of the world: The rise and rise of Rory
Luke Donald never recovered from an opening round of four-over 75 at Harbour Town Golf Links. Luke Donald never recovered from an opening round of four-over 75 at Harbour Town Golf Links.
Donald finishes down field
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
>
>>
McIlroy reclaims top ranking from Donald McIlroy reclaims top ranking from Donald
Bubba Watson receives the green jacket from 2011 winner Charl Schwartzel of South Africa. Bubba Watson receives the green jacket from 2011 winner Charl Schwartzel of South Africa.
Bubba dons the green jacket
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
>
>>
Bubba Watson wins Masters after playoff at Augusa Bubba Watson wins Masters after playoff at Augusa

It seems the green was the last thing on McIlroy's mind since that disappointing Masters performance. But now, as he returns to the PGA Tour for this week's Wells Fargo Championship -- a tournament he won in 2010 -- McIlroy says taking time out will be the key to his success.

"I don't want to be burned out by the time I'm 30. I want to try to prolong my career as much as I can. I sometimes take a little bit too much out of myself, especially at the end of the season," he said on the PGA Tour website.

"I'm trying to find the perfect balance between golf and having a normal life and everything else. For me there's more to life than just golf. I don't know if people are surprised to hear that, but I have a lot more going on in my life than just golf."

McIlroy has reason to be confident at Quail Hollow. It was here that he won his first PGA Tour title two years ago, shooting 62 in the final round to set a new course record. He also became the first player since Woods to win a PGA Tour event before his 21st birthday.

"It's always nice to come back to somewhere where you've had success," he said.

"I've got great memories of this course and of this tournament from 2010. I've played some great golf here and played not so great golf here last year. But I'm looking forward just to get back out on the course."

Wells Fargo is the first of four tournaments McIlroy will play before launching his U.S. Open title defense in June. He has drastically cut back his schedule to 23 starts this year -- seven less than 2011. But as he argues, it's all part of the game plan.

"Basically the most important time for me in the golf season is from the start of April until the end of August. That's when all the big tournaments are and that's when you want to play your best golf," he said.

"All the stuff either side of that is more preparation work and making sure that your game is getting ready and your body is physically ready for that time of the year.

"I know I've been criticized a little bit for not playing as much as some other guys leading into these few weeks, but I know I've got a big stretch coming up, and I want to be as fresh as possible for this."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:47 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
If golf has a reputation for being a bit stuffy, then the Bryan brothers and their trick shots are a much-needed blast of fresh air.
updated 8:18 AM EST, Thu December 11, 2014
Not many people make the leap from teenage market trader to golf pro and fashion entrepreneur, but that's just what Ian Poulter has done.
updated 6:29 AM EST, Wed November 12, 2014
"Sleep, as far as mental and physical recovery goes, has never been more important ..." says sport sleep coach Nick Littlehales.
updated 5:24 AM EST, Tue November 4, 2014
Joe Miller is devouring his second steak of the day and the clock has barely nudged 2pm. You need lots of fuel to smash a drive 474 yards.
updated 10:49 AM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
There have been many dark days for Oliver Wilson, but golf's unluckiest loser is finally riding an upward swing of his career roller coaster.
updated 12:48 PM EDT, Tue October 7, 2014
They dress like it's the 1930s and they swing antique equipment that eschews cutting-edge technology -- this is hickory golf.
updated 12:09 PM EDT, Mon September 15, 2014
CNN's Living Golf focuses on women's golf, charting the growth of the sport from royal pastime to multi-million dollar machine.
updated 4:46 AM EDT, Wed October 1, 2014
"I don't know how to paint happy," says golf's poster girl Michelle Wie. "I think it releases a lot of the darker feelings in me."
updated 8:13 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
Phil Mickelson of the United States talks during a press conference after the United States were defeated by Europe after the Singles Matches of the 2014 Ryder Cup on the PGA Centenary course at the Gleneagles Hotel on September 28, 2014 in Auchterarder, Scotland.
If you're a U.S. golf fan, or Tom Watson, look away now.
updated 7:18 PM EDT, Thu September 25, 2014
A ban on uploading social media pictures from the course at Gleneagles was dropped for the Ryder Cup.
updated 6:52 AM EDT, Wed September 24, 2014
A spot of shopping, the odd spa day and some serious flag waving. Welcome to the life of a Ryder Cup WAG.
updated 9:01 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Tom Watson has learned plenty in the 21 years since he was last U.S. Ryder Cup captain, but social media is proving to be problematic.
updated 8:43 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Patriotism will reach fever pitch when the USA and Europe collide in golf's Ryder Cup ... and it looks like Rickie Fowler has let it go to his head.
updated 9:42 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Pressure is inescapable in the cauldron of Ryder Cup competition -- pressure and ping pong.
updated 7:50 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Millions of golf fans were watching on television with great anticipation. All Martin Kaymer could think about was getting his phone out.
ADVERTISEMENT