Altvater: McIlroy will only play Houston prior to the MastersWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
After his final round on March 10 at the WGC-Cadillac, Rory McIlroy confirmed that he only planned to play in the Shell Houston Open prior to the Masters.
Because of his poor play and lack of competitive rounds thus far in 2013 it was speculated that he may add the Arnold Palmer Invitational to his schedule.
McIlroy has struggled mightily this year. The WGC-Cadillac was only his fourth start of 2013. In Abu Dhabi, his first tournament using the new Nike equipment, he missed the cut, shooting 75-75 over the first two rounds.
In his second start, Shane Lowry, the No. 64 seed, knocked McIlroy out in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play.
He was the defending champion at the Honda Classic but played poorly and became so frustrated that he withdrew from the tournament before completing the second round.
McIlroy struggled to a one-over par 73 on Thursday at Trump Doral, but turned in his first two sub-par rounds of the year on Friday and Saturday with scores of 69-71.
Entering the final round on Sunday he was three-under par and T-30, but only Adam Scott had a better final round with a 64. McIlroy posted a seven-under par 65 on Sunday and got his first top-10 finish of the year.
McIlroy cited fatigue from too much play at the end of 2012 and announced that he would play fewer events this year.
With two majors, the WGC-Bridgestone and the FedEx Cup Playoffs, falling in July, August and September the top players must play a lighter schedule this time of the year to stay physically fit for the peak summer season.
With the Masters looming in just four weeks the trick is to be ready for the demanding confines of Augusta National and the pressure of the first major championship of the year.
McIlroy feels he found his form at Trump Doral and is on the right track.
Golf fans will be forced to wait until Houston for his next examination.