McIlroy aims to end rocky season on a high note

World No. 8 Rory McIlroy hitting a drive at last week's BMW Championship. The Northern Irishman has been beset by injuries in a winless season so far, but a British Masters title will put him in a better frame of mind ahead of his impending six-week
World No. 8 Rory McIlroy hitting a drive at last week's BMW Championship. The Northern Irishman has been beset by injuries in a winless season so far, but a British Masters title will put him in a better frame of mind ahead of his impending six-week layoff to recuperate.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Rory McIlroy will play in next week's British Masters after the four-time Major winner failed to qualify for the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

The European Tour confirmed on Monday that the Northern Irishman will join tournament host Lee Westwood and Masters champion Sergio Garcia at the Close House course near Newcastle upon Tyne.

It will be McIlroy's fourth appearance at the British Masters, which he played in 2005, 2007 and 2008 before the tournament went off schedule for five years from 2009.

"I kind of had it in the back of my mind that if I didn't make the Tour Championship then there was a chance to tee it up at Close House, so I have decided to do that before finishing my season off the next week at the Dunhill Links," he told the Tour website (www.europeantour.com).

"Teeing it up next week gives me one more chance to end 2017 on a high as well.

"If I can sign off the year with a win or two in Newcastle and then St Andrews, I would take so many positives into my six-week recovery period when I am going to reset mentally and physically, and concentrate on getting myself in the right shape for next year."

McIlroy has slipped to eighth in the latest world rankings after what is looking like becoming only his second winless season since turning professional.

Hampered by rib and back injuries, the 28-year-old said last month he planned to take three months off at the end of the year to get fully fit.

Meanwhile, the PGA Tour announced on Monday it will implement a more comprehensive gambling policy from next year to monitor global betting markets for any irregular activity.

Betting by players on PGA Tour events is already prohibited, but the new "Integrity Program" will extend to virtually anyone connected to tournaments, including players and their support teams, all tournament staff and volunteers.

As part of the policy, the PGA Tour partnered London-based Genius Sports, a leader in sports integrity services, which will track real-time betting activity and identify potentially suspicious patterns occurring in global betting markets.

"The bedrock of PGA Tour competition are the inherent values of golf and the honesty and integrity of our members," PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement.

"We recognise, however, that no sport is fully immune from the potential influence of gambling. So, we felt it was important to move forward with an 'Integrity Program' to further protect our competition from betting-related issues."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2017, with the headline 'McIlroy aims to end rocky season on a high note'. Print Edition | Subscribe