6 great sport channels
Football, Rugby, UFC, GAA
All free when you join eir Broadband
Rory McIlroy is to skip the Par 3 Contest before The Masters in Augusta in order to focus all his attention on the first major of the year.
The Par 3 Contest takes place on the eve of the first round at Augusta National and is often viewed as a way for players to relax before the serious business begins.
McIlroy has missed the contest only once in seven Masters appearances - he did not play in 2011 - but he has decided against playing next week, describing it as 'just too much hassle'.
In 2011 McIlroy held a four-shot lead going into the final round only to shoot a closing 80 to finish in a share of 15th.
“It’s a bit of a distraction and the year I had my best chance at Augusta, 2011, I didn’t play the par-three contest,” McIlroy said. “So maybe the decision not to play it this year can work in my favour.”
McIlroy is looking to complete a Grand Slam of major championships but believes there will be less focus on him this year compared to 2015 when he was bidding for a third major in a row.
“I already feel a little more mellow and a lot more chilled compared to the all the hype around me a year ago,” McIlroy said.
“You have the attention spread between Jordan (Spieth) going back to defend, Jason Day winning for a second week in a row and also there’s Adam Scott who has won at Augusta before and is coming off his own back-to-back wins.
"So there’s a lot more going on around others competing in the Masters this year already than the spotlight I found myself in a year ago.”