McIlroy did not have his ‘A-game’ following his resignation from the PGA Tour Policy Board earlier this week.
Rory McIlroy admitted to being ‘rusty’ after his opening round at the DP World Tour Championship.
“I just think I’ve got a lot going on in my life between my golf game, my family, my growing investment portfolio, and my involvement in TGL, and I just felt like something had to give,” McIlroy said Thursday.
“I just didn’t feel like I could commit the time and the energy into doing that. I don’t mind being busy, but I just like being busy doing my own stuff. Something had to give, and there are guys on that board who are spending a lot more time and energy on it than I am. It’s in good hands, and I felt like it was the right time to step off.”
For over a year now, McIlroy has worked alongside Tiger Woods to create TGL, the new-tech-infused league that debuts in January.
He has also led the PGA Tour crusade against LIV Golf.
But on Thursday, he finally returned to the golf course in Dubai, where he signed for a 1-under 71.
“A little rusty,” McIlroy said of his play. “I got off to a nice start and then hit a couple of loose shots on the back nine and felt like I was scrambling pretty much the whole way there.”
He did not look rusty through seven holes as the four-time major champion drained three birdies and soared up the leaderboard.
But he made three bogeys over his next six and had to labor the rest of the way.
“Overall, still only four back. It was a tricky day,” McIlroy added.
“I think the wind was up in the morning. It settled down a little bit for our front nine and got up again for our back nine. So yeah, I can certainly do better, I know that, but it was nice to get one round out of the way and hopefully something to build on.”
Nicolai Højgaard holds a share of the lead at 5-under while plenty of other Ryder Cuppers are within striking distance.