Professional golfer Rory McIlroy, the world No. 3, recently took a break from the game for his “mental and emotional well-being” after a disappointing performance at the Masters. He missed the cut by two shots and then withdrew from the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. While the decision cost him $3 million and drew criticism from his fellow professionals, McIlroy said he needed the time away from golf.
“Obviously, after the disappointment of Augusta, and it’s been a pretty taxing 12 months mentally, so it was nice to just try to disconnect and get away from it,” he said in an interview with the Golf Channel. “But it’s nice to come back and feel refreshed and I think we’re on a pretty busy run here from now until after the playoffs, so I’m excited to get going.”
McIlroy’s break also meant that he missed his second “designated event” of the year on the PGA Tour, which has minimum participation requirements. However, he said that he knew the consequences of his decision and that it was worth it to take time for himself.
The golfer admitted that he had been allowing himself to think about his prospects of becoming just the sixth player to have won all four major titles, which he says distracted him from staying in the present moment. “Me thinking that way isn’t a good thing,” he said. “All I should be thinking about is that first shot on Thursday. You need to stay in the present moment and I feel like at Augusta I didn’t quite do a good job of that because of how well I came in playing. I maybe got ahead of myself a little bit.”
Looking ahead, McIlroy has the US PGA Championship and July’s Open Championship at Hoylake, where he won the Claret Jug in 2014. He hopes that his break will help him focus on his game and expend less energy on his role as an unofficial spokesperson for the PGA Tour in its battle against LIV Golf.
“I’ve always thought I’ve had a good handle on the perspective of things and where golf fits within my life, but I think over the last 12 months I’d lost sight of that, lost sight of the fact that there’s more to life than the golf world and this silly little squabble that’s going on between tours,” McIlroy explained.
Taking time off to focus on one’s mental and emotional well-being is crucial, especially for athletes who face immense pressure to perform at the highest level. McIlroy’s decision to step away from the game shows that sometimes, taking a break can help re-energize and refocus oneself, leading to better performance in the long run.
Mr. Marko Luis