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Why Rory McIlroy might not be returning to Harbour Town any time soon


HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – It had been more than a decade since Rory McIlroy had played the RBC Heritage. After four exacting days at Harbour Town, the Northern Irishman remembered why he’s passed so often on the post-Masters stop.

“Once I got here and I played the golf course, I sort of remembered why I haven’t been here for a while,” said McIlroy, who had only played Harbour Town once before this week, tying for 58th in 2009. “It’s tough. Like it’s a lovely place. There’s other courses on Tour that probably fit my game a little bit better, and obviously the week after the Masters is always a tough one.”

Some of that indifference can be attributed to McIlroy’s play. The world No. 1 struggled on Day 1 to a 1-over 72 and needed a second-round 65 just to make the cut. Weekend rounds of 66-70 left him T-41, his worst finish on the PGA Tour since the WGC-HSBC Champions in October 2018.

RBC Heritage: Full-field scores | Full coverage

Before last week’s T-31 at Colonial, McIlroy had posted seven straight top-5s.

For many players, the Heritage is a perfect place to unwind after the Masters. McIlroy, though, isn’t one of them.

“Guys like to come here and decompress,” McIlroy said, “but my idea of decompression is not seeing golf clubs for a week.”