McIlroy’s Irish Open snub ‘a sign of times’ – McGinley

(L-R): Shane Lowry, Paul McGinley and Rory McIlroy

Paul McGinley says Rory McIlroy’s decision not to compete in this year’s Irish Open is “a sign of the times”.

The 2014 European Ryder Cup captain is the host for this year’s event at Lahinch and admits he is disappointed by the 29-year-old’s absence.

While the world number four will be missing, Ian Poulter is the latest player to commit to the 4-7 July event.

“It was (a disappointment) but this is something we’re going to see more of going forward,” said McGinley.

“The challenges the players have on the world schedule are huge. The amount of money they play for around the world is huge and the focus is very much going to be on major championships and I think it’s just a sign of the times.

“He (McIlroy) is not the only one, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Tiger Woods as well – look at his schedule right through his career – they don’t play a huge amount and they define everything around the major championships.”

McIlroy is skipping his national open to focus on his preparations for The Open at Royal Portrush a fortnight later.

A number of high-profile players will however travel to the west of Ireland for this year’s Irish Open, including major winners Louis Oosthuizen, Danny Willett and Padraig Harrington.

But McGinley says the tournament can no longer expect to attract all of the biggest names, adding: “The days of old when Seve, Faldo, Langer, Woosie and all the top players played in an Irish Open, those days are gone.

“Any tournament around the world, even on the PGA Tour, outside the majors, the WGC events and the Players (Championship), if you have two or three or four of the big names and then you fit around the guys who are top 50 in the world around that and then the rest of the tour well that’s a very good field.

“That’s what we’re on course to do and hopefully we’re going to get there, we’re pretty close to it at the moment.”

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