By Phil Rice
World number two Rory McIlroy is out of the PGA flagship event due to a recurrence of a rib injury.
This week signals the start of the innovative Rolex Series which will feature eight events at some of the World’s greatest golf courses.
It begins at the home of the PGA at Wentworth and concludes at the World Tour Championship in Dubai at the end of the season.
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Disappointingly for the organisers world number two Rory McIlroy will not feature this week as anticipated due to a persistent rib injury which originally occurred in the offseason when hitting a lot of balls in practice when he was trying to decide on new equipment after former supplier Nike decided to stop producing clubs last year.
It flared up at the BMW South African Open in January and he rested until the WGC-Mexico Championship in March where he finished four shots behind winner Dustin Johnson.
He resumed an active schedule but felt discomfort at the Players Championship two weeks ago and despite a scan revealing he has suffered no new injury, he will not now tee it up this Thursday.
“Having had a reaction to my earlier rib injury, I have been advised to take a conservative approach to my recovery which unfortunately means I have to withdraw from the BMW PGA Championship next week,” said McIlroy.
“It’s a disappointing decision to have to make but I have to ensure I make a full recovery. I will now continue the process of preparing my game for the US Open and the rest of the season.”
European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said: “There is no question that Rory will be missed at the BMW PGA Championship but his health is the most important thing and we wish him a speedy recovery.”
This week will mark the first time the BMW PGA Championship will take place over the newly revamped West Course.
The changes were designed in accordance with feedback given by European Tour players to Paul McGinley and he played an advisory role in the most recent alterations to the historic course.
Every single green was stripped of its turf and reseeded with a new creeping bent grass, in order to improve the appearance and pureness of the putting surfaces.
Indeed, four of the greens – the eighth, 11th, 14th and 16th holes – have been completely reshaped while five more – the third, fourth, fifth, 12th and 15th holes – were partially rebuilt. A sub-air system was also installed on all greens to help make them firmer and faster, while a new irrigation and drainage system was also introduced.
Every single bunker was redesigned and reconstructed – 29 of them completely removed – helping to more closely realign the course with Harry Colt’s original vision, whilst also being cognisant of the demands of the modern game.
Despite McIlroy’s absence Ireland will have eight representatives this week, Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington, Shane Lowry, Paul Dunne, Paul McGinley, Gary Hurley, Damien McGrain and Neil O’Briain.