McIlroy misses Irish Open to prepare for the return of The Open to Northern Ireland

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Rory McIlroy has been Irish Open tournament guest since 2015

Rory McIlroy has confirmed that he will miss the Irish Open in Lahinch this year to concentrate on his preparations for The Open at Royal Portrush.

McIlroy, 29, says that missing his national opening, which lasts two weeks before the major, gives himself a better chance of winning The Open.

The Open returns to Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951.

"If there ever is a year where I feel I can miss this Irish Open, it's this year," McIlroy said.

McClell told BBC Sport Northern Ireland that his plan to "tune in" for the Portrush event by participating in the Scottish Open a week earlier meant that he had to miss the Lahinch tournament to breathe new life for the major.

"If I played the Irish Open, The Open Championship would be my third event in a row.

" For me, that is not McIlroy has been Irish Open tournament host since 2015, although Paul McGinley will take on this role at Lahinch in County Clare this year.

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The former number one in the world will keep its European Tour membership for next year.

Earlier this year, world eight said he is considering only playing two regular European Tour events this year that would have meant losing his travel membership.

McIlroy now says, however, that he will play the "minimum" required number of events to keep his membership and ensure that he is eligible to play in future Ryder Cups.

"I would not want to miss that [the Ryder Cup] for the world, I'm still a member of the team.

" I'm going to play as little as possible (19459006) to save myself for the wave I play everywhere else. "

McIlroy insisted that he decide to miss the Irish Open was in no way discrediting or belittling the Lahinch event & # 39;

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"I love the Irish Open." I have supported it in my entire career

"people from Ireland are still going to see me playing with golf because I am going to play the Open Championship and I am be sure that many people will travel from the south to see the game play. "

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