World number 1 Rory McIlroy will not be at the start of the Tournament of Champions which brings together 17 of the world’s top 20 players for the first tournament of the new year next week. The 2023 PGA Tour season started in mid-September, but the first key event is traditionally the one that brings together the winners of the previous year’s tournaments but also now the players qualified for the final of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, on the Plantation Course in Kapalua located on the island of Maui in Hawaii.
Rory McIlory, 2023
With its endowment increased to $15 million, the back-to-school event is on the list of the PGA Tour’s 12 “boosted tournaments” Won last year by Cameron Smith who has since “moved” to the LIV, this tournament will mark the return to business of 17 of the 20 best players in the world.
The list of 39 registered players was communicated on Friday by the PGA Tour and will be at the start, among others: Scottie Scheffler, Patrick Cantlay, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa, Tony Finau or Will Zalatoris returning from wound.
The world No. 7 American was kept off the fairways by back pain that arose a week after his 1st PGA Tour win at the FedEx St Jude Championship in August. Very nice people but no world number 1 Rory McIlroy, who generally postpones his return to the American circuit in February.
In the past, the Northern Irish have only taken part in the Tournament of Champions once. It was in 2019 when he placed 4th. Other notable defections among the world’s top 20 include current world No. 3 Cameron Smith, banned by the PGA Tour and who will therefore not defend his title, and Shane Lowry.
The Irishman does not usually set foot in the United States before the “Florida Swing” is at the end of February – beginning of March. Note that by deciding to skip this 1st tournament considered “boosted”, Rory McIlroy is now required to participate in the other 11 without exception.
As an immediate consequence, he will be in Arizona for the Phoenix Open the second week of February. It will be the first time in his entire career that Rory will line up at the start of this tournament with such a special atmosphere.