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Arnold Palmer is not happy with no-show Rory McIlroy

The US Open has skipped the golf legend’s invitational tournament as he prepares for the Masters.

Arnold Palmer: 'That made me feel great. And if you believe that, I'll talk to you outside after.'
Arnold Palmer: 'That made me feel great. And if you believe that, I'll talk to you outside after.'
Image: John Raoux/AP/Press Association Images

GOLF LEGEND ARNOLD Palmer is this week hosting his annual invitaional tournament at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Florida.

But last night he revealed he’s not too impressed with no-shows Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald.

The European pair are numbers two and one respectively on the world ranking list.

“I’m disappointed they are not here,” said the 82-year-old Palmer. ”I had a letter from Rory that told me he wasn’t coming.

“Of course that made me feel great. And if you believe that, I’ll talk to you outside after,” he added.

McIlroy has taken the weeks leading up to next month’s Masters in Augusta off - though he’s found time to dine at the White House.

Palmer said the Holywood native wrote to him to request a meeting. “I think he has done a wonderful job with 22 years old and starting his career like he has just gotten launched into. I’m not sure that I know exactly what he wants me to tell him or what he wants to hear from me, but I look forward to seeing him and talking to him.

“He also mentioned in the letter that he will be here to play in years to come.”

Though the game’s top pair are absent other recent winners are slated to feature, like American Hunter Mahan, who took out the WGC Match Play Championship in Arizona last month.

As ever, former world number one Tiger Woods has claimed his share of the headlines. Woods ran McIlroy close at the Honda Classic, posting an eight-under-par final round of 62 to finish two shots behind the US Open champion.

In keeping with Woods’ inconsistent performances of recent years, he followed up that strong showing by struggling at the Cadillac Championship, withdrawing from the final round due to an Achilles injury.

It was initially feared the 14-time major winner had suffered a recurrence of the knee trouble that has plagued him since 2008.

Later diagnosed as a left Achilles strain, Woods is already back in action at the mid-week Tavistock Cup, and will be in the field when the Arnold Palmer Invitational gets underway. Scotsman Martin Laird won the tournament by a single stroke last season to claim his second victory on the PGA Tour.

But there will be no shortage of challengers equipped to relieve him of his title. Along with Laird and Woods, there are eight formers winners of the event taking part in 2012, including Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson.

The overseas contingent will also fancy their chances of preventing a domestic player from taking home the US$1.08 million prize for first place. They include Colombia’s Camilo Villegas, in-form Dane Thomas Bjorn and resurgent Spaniard Sergio Garcia.

South African Trevor Immelman, Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa and Ireland’s Graeme McDowell will also feature.

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