Tour officials confirmed Irish Open for Royal County Down, says McIlroy

Tour officials confirmed Irish Open for Royal County Down, says McIlroy
Rory McIlroy. Picture: Fran Caffrey

Rory McIlroy. Picture: Fran Caffrey

Rory McIlroy insists that European Tour officials have confirmed to him that the Irish Open will be played at Royal County Down next year.

The European Tour has neither confirmed or denied the news but the world No 8 appears to be the only major Irish golfer in the know.

Asked in recent days about the move to the Newcastle venue, Graeme McDowell, Pádraig Harrington and Darren Clarke all said they had heard nothing at all.

McIlroy again confessed at PGA National on Thursday that several off course issues, coupled with his poor form, contributed to his meltdown at last year's Honda Classic and subsequent decision to walk off the course after completing just eight holes of his second round.

“There were a lot of things going on at that time, as well," McIlroy said, before explaining that he is now a far more experienced and worldly person. "Obviously my game wasn't where I wanted it to be. My mental state wasn't quite where I needed it to be.

“You know, there was a few things that were occupying my thoughts that probably didn't need to be and shouldn't have been, but it was just a very difficult time.

“I'm glad that everything has sort of just been cleared up.  I'm happy with where I am now. I mean, it's difficult to deal with, especially when you haven't had to deal with it before."

His row with his former management company, which is still being resolved in the courts, was certainly a factor.

However, the Holywood star did not divulge the exact nature of what else, if anything, was on his mind.

There was huge speculation about the state of his relationship with girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki last season before they became engaged in Australia on New Year's Eve.

The Holywood star has been affected by speculation about his private life in the past.

In September 2012, the Irish tabloid the Sunday World was forced to issue an apology over a story that reported rumours about 'difficulties' in the marriage of his parents Gerry and Rosie, accepting that "these rumours are totally without foundation or substance."

The paper apologised "for any distress or offence caused to Mr and Mrs McIlroy and their friends and family" and agreed to make a donation to a charity of their choice.