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After skipping Heritage for ‘private matter,’ Rory McIlroy returns in ‘better headspace’

After three weeks away to focus on his “mental and emotional well-being,” Rory McIlroy is back competing on the PGA Tour at this week’s Wells Fargo Championship.

McIlroy skipped his second designated event of the season, the RBC Heritage, following a disappointing missed cut at the Masters. While McIlroy still hasn’t given a specific reason for why he didn’t play at Harbour Town, he told Barstool’s Dan Rapaport on Tuesday at Quail Hollow that his absence was “due to personal reasons” and that it’s a “private matter.”

McIlroy does not have a pre-tournament press conference scheduled for this week, but he did chat Tuesday with Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis.

Full-field tee times from the Wells Fargo Championship

“I needed a break for me,” McIlroy told Lewis. “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. But it’s nice to come back and feel refreshed.

“I think I’m in a better headspace than I was…,” McIlroy added before taking a brief pause. “Yeah, you know, that run-up to Augusta is always a stressful enough couple of weeks trying making sure everything’s in the right order and making sure your game’s in good shape. I think for me it was a nice reset because I still had to realize that there’s three more majors this year, there’s a ton left to play for.”

“Golf Today” co-host Eamon Lynch, who is close with McIlroy in a professional sense, commented after the interview played that McIlroy “still looked a little tired,” but Lynch also added that when it came to a specific reason for why he hasn’t played since the Masters, McIlroy “doesn’t owe anyone an excuse.”

There are few more comfortable places to return for McIlroy than Quail Hollow. McIlroy has played the Wells Fargo there 11 times, recording three wins (2010, 2015, 2021) and six other top-10 finishes.