Crammed calendar bad for golfers, fans: McIlroy

CRANS-MONTANA (Switzerland) • Rory McIlroy is not a fan of golf's new compacted Major schedule and fears it might make the sport irrelevant to fans for much of the year, said the world No. 2.

The Majors came thick and fast this year, played in a 101-day window from April to July, starting with the Masters and ending with the British Open.

The PGA Championship's move from August to May meant that players could barely catch their breath between Majors.

"I'd like to see them spaced out the way tennis does it," the 30-year-old told the BBC on Wednesday, the eve of the European Masters in the Swiss Alps.

"(Tennis) has the Australian Open in January and the US Open is going on now.

"They have a nine-month window of relevancy. You want to stay relevant for as long as possible throughout the year."

The Northern Irishman also said that his win at the season-ending Tour Championship last Sunday, when he earned US$15 million (S$20.8 million), helped "soften the blow" of not winning a Major.

The four-time Major winner last claimed a Major in 2014, when he did the PGA Championship-British Open double. This year, he flirted with contention at only one event, the US Open in June when he tied for ninth. Most disappointing of all was missing the cut at the British Open.

"The money's nice... but the satisfaction of winning the FedEx Cup and beating the guys that I beat down the stretch, that's what makes me happy," he said.

"I feel I'm in a very privileged position where that money isn't going to change my life in any way.

"It's more about the competitiveness and getting myself back in a position where I feel I can be the best golfer in the world again."

He is aiming for world No. 1 Brooks Koepka, who beat him to the PGA of America Player of the Year award this week.

"Brooks has got about a three-point lead on me," said McIlroy, who has not been ranked No. 1 since September 2015.

"I don't know if that's attainable with the tournaments I have left. But that's my focus, getting closer to that No. 1 spot."

He will play in England and Scotland next month before heading to Asia in October for the Zozo Championship in Japan and the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in China.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2019, with the headline 'Crammed calendar bad for golfers, fans: McIlroy'. Print Edition | Subscribe