Why did Rory McIlroy withdraw from the 2023 RBC Heritage? He explained at Quail Hollow
PGA Tour

Why did Rory McIlroy withdraw from the 2023 RBC Heritage? He explained at Quail Hollow

A picture of golfer Rory McIlroy DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off on the 8th hole during the Third Round on Day Four of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates Golf Club on January 29, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy didn't play at Harbour Town after missing the cut at the Masters, shocking the golf world because that meant he knowingly risked a $3 million penalty -- which he eventually was given -- to skip the 2023 RBC Heritage.

Critics piled on McIlroy, and some of his peers questioned why he didn't compete in his second designated event of the year after being one of the primary architects of the new PGA Tour structure. Masters champion Jon Rahm seemingly seized on the opportunity for good public relations, referring to his commitment to play several times and being paid off for that choice by fans with adulation from the crowd in South Carolina.

However, McIlroy hadn't spoken about why he chose to skip Harbour Town until Tuesday, ahead of this week's Wells Fargo Championship. McIlroy said his "head wouldn't be at" the RBC Heritage and that he needed to take care of some personal business at home. According to comments McIlroy made to reporters Tuesday, he seemed comfortable with the fine he faced, suggesting a potentially dire or emergency situation.

"We certainly have our minimums, we obviously signed up for this designated-event series this year," McIlroy said. “I obviously knew the consequences that could come with missing one of those. It was an easy decision, but I felt like if that fine or whatever is to happen was worth that for me in order to get some things in place."

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McIlroy did explain his rationale to PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, who has said only medical concerns would likely prove a reasonable reason for missing multiple designated events.

"I had my reasons not to play Hilton Head. I expressed those to Jay and whether he thinks that is enough to warrant ... look, again, I understood the consequences of that decision before I made it. So whatever happens, happens."

Ultimately, that decision may prove costly in the short-term but could prove important in the long-term as it relates to his personal and family life, as well as his on-course performance. Next year, though, Player Impact Program players will not be required to compete in a pre-determined number of designated events, which will now be limited to eight tournaments that exclude the majors, the Players and the three FedEx Cup playoff events (which were considered designated this year). The pool will also go back to $50 million from the one-time $100 million sum for 2022.

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is a scratch golfer...sometimes.

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