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'I think people have short memories': Lowry defends McIlroy's decision to miss Irish Open

Shane Lowry understands Rory McIlroy’s decision to focus on preparations for The Open Championship.

McIlroy in action at the WGC Mexico Championship last week.
McIlroy in action at the WGC Mexico Championship last week.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

SHANE LOWRY HAS defended Rory McIlroy’s decision to miss this year’s Irish Open at Lahinch to instead focus his preparations on The Open Championship.

McIlroy confirmed last week that he would be absent for the event in July, explaining that he is eager to remain fresh in order to improve his chances at Royal Portrush.

The 29-year-old is already competing in the Scottish Open a week prior to The Open and Lowry said he completely understood McIlroy’s choice to miss the Irish Open this year.

“Every Irish player involved in golf in Ireland that actually knows something about golf in Ireland won’t have a bad word to say about him, and not playing the Irish Open. I had dinner with him last week and he explained it to me,” Lowry said speaking on 2fm’s GameOn.

“The Open Championship is the biggest tournament he’ll play, being in Portrush, and he feels like he needs to prepare for that.

“I definitely won’t have anything to say about him. It’ll still be a great tournament in Lahinch and I’m certainly looking forward to going there.”

Golf 2018: 100th PGA Championship: Final Round Lowry got 2019 off to the perfect start by winning the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January. Source: Debby Wong

The Offaly native added that the timing of this year’s event has proven difficult for him as well, with the Irish Open, Scottish Open and the Open Championship all arriving in quick succession this summer.

“The Irish Open isn’t an ideal date for me either. Playing two weeks of links golf before the Open Championship, where you don’t know what weather you are going to get because it could be wind and rain, and all of a sudden you’re going into the Open Championship a bit jaded and not really feeling it.

“I personally would like to see a change of date. I think there is a great opportunity for them to have it just before Wentworth in September. That’d be a great date.

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Lowry added: “You’d get some guys over to play two Rolex Series events in a row and then the Dunhill Links after. I’m not one to comment on whether it’ll be a permanent thing for Rory.

“I highly doubt it. It’s not an ideal date. If I was an American player coming over to play in the Open, I’d play in the Scottish Open and then the Open the week after.”

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