Just before the 5pm EST deadline, Rory McIlroy committed to play in next week’s Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio — which is a huge victory for the tournament.
It must have been a very last-minute decision because after Rory shot a two-under 70 for a two-day total of one-under, he told reporters that he wasn’t planning to enter.
“We’ve been quietly working with him and his manager for the last several weeks,” Larson Segerdahl, tournament director for the Texas Open, said today.
“He wanted to get in a few more rounds before Augusta,” Segerdahl said, referring to the first major championship of the season, the Masters, which takes place April 11-14 at Augusta National in Georgia.
“He made the decision on the golf course today, after a back-and-forth discussion with his manager,” Segerdahl added. “It’s a big win for all of us.”
While there are still quite a few players on the course, it appears the cut line for this week will be one-under, which means McIlroy will have just barely made the weekend. Interesting enough, this will be the world no. 2’s first “made cut” of 2013. Yes, he played four rounds at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, but that was a no-cut event.
Rory has played approximately ten competitive rounds this year and will get in two more this weekend. He posted two rounds in the Middle East at the Abu Dhabi Championship, then he was eliminated by Shane Lowry in the first match of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. He carded only one official round at the Honda Classic before he walked off the golf course after he knocked his second shot in the water on his ninth hole in the second round at PGA National.
What are we to take away from Rory’s decision to visit the Alamo? Well, that he’s not feeling entirely comfortable with his swing and game at the moment and he wants some more reps.
Next week’s venue, TPC San Antonio, isn’t particularly good preparation for Augusta National — the course is super tight and conditions are incredibly windy (just ask Phil Mickelson).
“It was a little better,” said Rory, referring to his second-round play Friday morning. “I think there was a lot more consistency in it. There weren’t as many loose shots in there and I was hitting more greens and giving myself plenty of chances for birdies. I actually putted pretty well. A few didn’t drop for me. All in all, it was an improvement from yesterday, which is the main thing.”
McIlroy hit only five of 14 fairways on Friday, but he found 13 of 18 greens in the second round.
By the way, he’s still planning to go on his UNICEF trip to Haiti next week, which is planned for Monday and Tuesday.
(AP Photo/Conroe Courier, Jason Fochtman)