KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A travel-weary Rory McIlroy pledged to put his final-round collapse at the Masters behind him by delivering a strong performance in this week’s Malaysian Open.
Following his meltdown at Augusta National on Sunday, McIlroy stressed he would “get over it” when the tournament in Kuala Lumpur starts Thursday.
McIlroy was impressive while handling his collapse, and continued when he posed for a photo with Masters champion Charl Schwartzel in the green jacket on the flight to Malaysia. He posted it on Twitter and said, “Glad one of us has a green jacket on!!!”
“It was a long journey from Augusta, about 30 hours, but I’m looking forward to getting back on the saddle and putting last week’s disappointment behind me,” the 21-year-old McIlroy said Wednesday. “I’ve been excited about this event and never had any intention of pulling out.”
The Northern Irishman will tee off with two-time Malaysian Open champion Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand and world No. 1 Martin Kaymer.
McIlroy led the Masters for 63 holes before a back nine of 43 crushed his hopes of winning his first major. He said he plans to play aggressively at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, adding that the tough opposition and high humidity were his biggest worries.
“I can’t wait to get out playing, but a little disappointed my clubs will only be arriving later today. My caddie has been out walking the course and I take a lot of positives from what happened in the Masters,” he said, noting that he has never played on the Kuala Lumpur course.
Schwartzel, meanwhile, said he has had no time to celebrate last weekend’s victory.
Winning the Masters “has not sunk in yet,” Schwartzel said. “I’m feeling quite tired actually. However, I’m here to win and don’t treat the tournaments any differently. My clubs are not here yet so I haven’t had the time or the opportunity to practice, but I played in Malaysia a few years back and know what to expect.”
Schwartzel will tee off with fellow South African Louis Oosthuizen, the British Open winner, and defending champion Noh Seung-yul of South Korea.