Rory McIlroy insists it was an “easy decision” to potentially forfeit £2.4million in bonus money as he spoke for the first time about how missing the cut in the Masters “sucked”.

McIlroy did not speak to waiting reporters after a second round of 74 at Augusta National brought a premature end to his latest bid to win a green jacket and complete the career grand slam.

The world number three then withdrew from the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head, meaning he had missed his second ‘designated event’ of the year on the PGA Tour and was subject to losing 25 per cent of his Player Impact Program bonus.

“We certainly have our minimums, we obviously signed up for this designated-event series this year,” McIlroy said at a promotional event for FedEx ahead of the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I obviously knew the consequences that could come with missing one of those. It was an easy decision, but I felt like, if that fine or whatever is to happen, (it) was worth that for me in order to get some things in place.

“I had my reasons not to play Hilton Head. I expressed those to Jay [Monahan, the PGA Tour commissioner] and whether he thinks that is enough to warrant… look, again, I understood the consequences of that decision before I made it.

“So whatever happens, happens.”

McIlroy revealed that he had allowed himself to think about his prospects of becoming just the sixth player to have won all four major titles after shooting five under par on the back nine of his Wednesday practice round at Augusta.

“Me thinking that way isn’t a good thing,” the four-time major winner said. “All I should be thinking about is that first shot on Thursday.

“You need to stay in the present moment and I feel like at Augusta I didn’t quite do a good job of that because of how well I came in playing. I maybe got ahead of myself a little bit.”

Describing his performance, McIlroy added: “It sucked. It sucked.

“It’s not the performance I obviously thought I was going to put up. Nor was it the performance I wanted. Just incredibly disappointing. But I needed some time to regroup and focus on what’s ahead.

“It’s been a big 12 months and I don’t know if I fully reflected on stuff. I never really got a chance to really think about the Open and St Andrews (where he was joint leader after 54 holes) and everything that went on there.

“It was nice to have three weeks to just put all that stuff in the rearview mirror and just try to focus on what’s ahead.”

What’s ahead on the course includes the US PGA Championship later this month and July’s Open Championship at Hoylake, where McIlroy lifted the Claret Jug in 2014.

And McIlroy hopes he will now be able to expend less energy on his role as an unofficial spokesperson for the PGA Tour in its battle against LIV Golf as the season progresses.

“I wasn’t gassed because of the golf, I was gassed because of everything that we’ve had to deal with in the golf world over the past 12 months and being right in the middle of it and being in that decision-making process,” McIlroy added.

“I’ve always thought I’ve had a good handle on the perspective of things and where golf fits within my life, but I think over the last 12 months I’d lost sight of that, lost sight of the fact that there’s more to life than the golf world and this silly little squabble that’s going on between tours.

“And I think once I disconnected from it a little bit, I could see things a little clearer and where everything fits. I guess that was a good reset.”

Matt Fitzpatrick believes learning to be patient has been his secret to success.

The reigning U.S. Open champion went into the final round of the RBC Heritage on Sunday with the outright lead after a spectacular career-best round of 63 on Saturday, but had to survive a three-hole playoff against Jordan Spieth before securing victory.

Fitzpatrick fell two shots off the lead at one point, before recovering to force a playoff against Spieth.

"The big thing for me, that I feel like I've learnt when I play well, is just having patience. Just letting it happen and just giving myself time," Fitzpatrick said.

"I just felt as long as I was within two shots going into the back nine, I was easily in with a shout."

The Englishman moved up to a career-high number eight in the world after his win at the Harbour Town course at Hilton Head, just his second PGA Tour win after the U.S. Open.

"Before winning the U.S. Open, before last year really, I probably got overworked over majors," he said. "I was that desperate to try and win one, just changing things, trying a bit harder.

"I probably made myself tired from that, and then you come to this week and you just feel tired from the week before.

"I think sometimes it can be tough, particularly if you really had a grind, if you had a good result. I think it can be difficult to get yourself up for it."

Matt Fitzpatrick secured a sentimental victory at the RBC Heritage on Sunday after surviving a three-hole playoff against Jordan Spieth.

Fitzpatrick, the reigning U.S. Open champion, had come into the final round with the outright lead after a spectacular career-best round of 63 on Saturday, but he found himself two strokes behind through 13 holes.

It was Spieth who had raced out to the lead with five birdies and eight pars through his 13 holes as part of the final group with Fitzpatrick, turning a two-stroke deficit into a two-stroke lead as Fitzpatrick was only one under in his round up to that point.

But Spieth would bogey the 14th, allowing Fitzpatrick to grab a share of the lead at 17 under with a birdie on 16, after both birdied the 15th.

Fitzpatrick blew a golden opportunity to take the outright lead with a poor birdie putt on 17, and then Spieth converted a tricky up-and-down on 18 to force a playoff.

It is a playoff that will live long in the memory of Spieth, as he had his potential tournament-winning birdie putt catch the lip on the first extra hole, and then again narrowly missed a birdie putt on the second playoff hole to keep Fitzpatrick alive.

Fitzpatrick eventually made the American pay, nearly holing out from the fairway on their third attempt at the 18th hole, tapping in for birdie as Spieth sailed his approach long and could not pull off a miracle.

It is Fitzpatrick's first non-major PGA Tour victory, and one that will carry some extra weight on a personal level after revealing this week that his family have made annual trips to Harbour Town Golf Links to watch this tournament since he was six years old.

Patrick Cantlay finished outright third at 16 under, with fellow top-10 ranked talent Xander Schauffele in outright fourth at 15 under.

Reigning U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick moved into a one-shot lead from Patrick Cantlay at the RBC Heritage with a bogey-free eight-under 63.

Fitzpatrick surged up the leaderboard on the third day at Harbour Town Golf Links with a hole-out eagle from 149 yards out on the par-four third hole.

The 28-year-old Englishman's 63 was a new career-low score, highlighted by four birdies along with the eagle on his front nine 30.

Fitzpatrick leads at 14 under from Cantlay (13 under) and Jordan Spieth (12 under) who carded five-under 66s on the third day.

Cantlay enjoyed a bogey-free round of five under, managing three birdies in four holes on the back nine, while Spieth bogeyed on the par-three 17th, seeing him drop two strokes off the lead.

Halfway leader Jimmy Walker slipped down the leaderboard with a one-over 72, meaning he is tied for fourth at 11 under with Taylor Moore, Mark Hubbard, Tommy Fleetwood and Scottie Scheffler.

Last week's Masters champion Jon Rahm was unable to build on his second-day 64, despite starting with three straight birdies.

Rahm's run stalled with a double bogey on the fourth, eventually carding a two-under 69 to be back at eight-under overall.

Keegan Bradley had the second-best round of the day behind Fitzpatrick, moving to nine-under overall and joint 16th with a bogey-free seven-under 64.

Last week's Masters champion Jon Rahm shook off his poor opening round and rebounded with Friday's best score, while Jimmy Walker opened up a three-stroke lead at the RBC Heritage.

Rahm had a bit of a hangover following his second major victory, beginning his week at Harbour Town Golf Links with a one-over 72, before showing the field how it was done with a seven-under 64 on his second trip around the course.

He birdied holes two, three, four and five to kick-start a bogey-free round with seven birdies overall, jumping from the wrong side of the cut line to a tie for 18th at six under.

Meanwhile, at the top of the leaderboard it was Jimmy Walker who raced clear of the pack, posting his second 65 in a row to head into the weekend at 12 under.

Walker, 44, is a six-time winner on the PGA Tour, but his last victory came at the 2016 PGA Championship, and he came into this event with only four made cuts from 12 starts this season.

He has his work cut out for him to hold off a star-studded chasing pack, with world number two Scottie Scheffler joined by major champion Justin Rose and world number six Xander Schauffele at nine under.

Fellow top-10 talents Patrick Cantlay and Viktor Hovland are one stroke further back at eight under, where they are joined by English duo Aaron Rai and Tommy Fleetwood in a tie for fifth.

Jordan Spieth is tied for 10th at seven under with a group that includes Rickie Fowler and former RBC Heritage champion Matt Kuchar, and Rahm is joined at six under by reigning U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick.

Young South Korean phenom Tim Kim missed the cut by one stroke, while Max Homa had a week to forget, finishing at three over to miss the cut by five strokes.

Play was suspended in Thursday's opening round of the RBC Heritage with Viktor Hovland clinging onto the outright lead following his seven-under 64.

It was a great first trip around Harbour Town Golf Links for the Norwegian, going bogey-free with seven birdies.

Hovland, 25, is coming off some terrific results, tying for third at The Players Championship in March before a tied-seventh finish at the Masters last week.

He leads by one stroke from Jimmy Walker, Aaron Rai and Brian Harman, although Harman is the only of the trio to have finished their round, with Walker still having two holes to play, while Rai has three more to try and track down Hovland.

There is a logjam tied for fifth at five under including major champions Matt Fitzpatrick, Zach Johnson and Justin Rose, with Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele a further shot back at four under.

Defending champion Jordan Spieth is joined by world number two Scottie Scheffler and three-time champion at this event Stewart Cink at three under, while top-10 talents Justin Thomas and Patrick Cantlay headline the group at two under. 

Last week's Masters champion Jon Rahm shot a disappointing one-over 72, and world number seven Max Homa (two over) is also on the wrong side of the cut-line heading into Friday.

Rory McIlroy has pulled out of the RBC Heritage later this week on the back of his disappointing Masters showing.

McIlroy endured a torrid time at Augusta National last week, missing the cut after carding a five-over second round.

The world number three will not have the opportunity to get over that with a solid display at the RBC Heritage, which gets under way in South Carolina on Thursday.

No explanation was given for his decision to pull out of the tournament, which only players ranked in the top 20 of the PGA Tour's Player Impact Program are eligible to take part in.

This is McIlroy's second withdrawal of the season, with only one allowed for personal or professional reasons, meaning he may now miss out on his bonus money from the Player Impact Program.

Jon Rahm is expected to participate in the tournament after winning his first Masters title with a superb final-round display.

Jordan Spieth clinched the RBC Heritage title after winning the first hole of a play-off against Patrick Cantlay.

Spieth started strong with two eagles from the first five holes, and trailing by two strokes heading to the 18th, he needed a birdie to keep things interesting. He delivered, finishing one stroke off Shane Lowry's outright lead at the time.

Lowry looked poised to control proceedings down the second nine, before a botched chip ended up rolling into the water on 14 for a double-bogey, going from one stroke in the lead to joining the chasing pack at 12 under.

Cantlay shot a tidy 68, which included a birdie on 17 to grab a share of Spieth's lead, and missed a birdie putt on 18 for the win.

In the play-off on 18, both players found the bunker in their approaches to the green, but while Spieth had a relatively friendly lie, Cantlay's ball was plugged deep into the sand.

Spieth's bunker shot was terrific, giving him a tap-in par, while Cantlay's sailed 30 feet past the hole and could not pull off the miracle required to force a second play-off hole.

The win is Spieth's first in over a year since the 2021 Valero Texas Open, and his first since becoming a father. He was greeted by his wife and son on the 18th green after the triumph.

"Last week [at the Masters] was really a killer for me, my favourite tournament in the world, not making the weekend, so I tried to work a little extra here," Spieth said. "It feels amazing.

"I won this tournament without a putter! This is one of the worst tournaments I've putted that I've stayed in contention. I just tried to stay positive on the back nine today, gritty.

"I have a lot of belief in my putting. The fact that I feel like I can get it done in an off-week is a really good feeling, so I know what I need to work on in the next few weeks to get ready for the rest of the season."

Sepp Straka threatened to join the playoff after he moved into a share of the lead at 13 under with an outrageous long birdie putt on 17, but had to take a bogey on 18 after a poor approach to the green had him flirting with out-of-bounds territory.

Harold Varner III also had a chance to join Spieth and Cantlay with a 40-foot putt on the 18th hole, but narrowly missed.

Joining the seven-player group tied for third was Cam Davis, who shot a bogey-free 63 for the best round of the day, as well as JT Poston.

Erik van Rooyen had the outright lead early in the day after birdieing four consecutive holes starting on the second, but four bogeys on the back nine took him out of the hunt – the South African tying for 10th with Tommy Fleetwood at 11 under.

Collin Morikawa shot his best score of the week with a 68, but it included a triple-bogey on the par-three 17th to finish at seven under in a tie for 26th with Kevin Na and Maverick McNealy.

Justin Thomas was one shot further back at six under after his 67 gave him his best round of the week.

Reigning champion Stewart Cink was disappointing after a 67 in round one, following it with rounds of 75, 71 and 74.

Harold Varner III is in position to claim his maiden PGA Tour victory, shooting an eight-under 63 on Saturday to take a one-shot lead at the RBC Heritage.

Varner matched Cameron Young's opening-round score at Harbour Town with a bogey-free round, to move to 11-under for the tournament coming into the final day.

After a disappointing finish on Friday, going four-over on the final four holes, the 31-year-old responded strongly with four birdies in the opening six holes.

Varner will need to be just as focused on the final day, with quality opponents in striking distance.

Reigning FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay and Erik van Rooyen sit a shot back after 54 holes at 10-under, along with 2019 British Open winner Shane Lowry, fresh off his third-placed finish at the Masters.

Like Varner, Lowry also shot a one-over 72 on Friday and coupled his four birdies on the front nine with bogeys on the third and sixth hole, before finishing strong.

Birdies on the 10th and 11th holes put the Irishman on track and following another birdie on the par-five 15th, he closed his round out with another in front of the iconic lighthouse on the 18th.

The eased conditions allowed the 35-year-old to attack the pin, on the way to shooting his lowest score at Harbour Town.

Former RBC Heritage winner Matt Kuchar, Hudson Swafford, Sepp Straka and Aaron Wise were all a further stroke back, tied at nine-under.

Billy Horschel and Jordan Speith are also among the stacked chasing pack, on eight-under heading into the final day.

Patrick Cantlay holds a two-stroke lead after the second round at the RBC Heritage following a four-under par 67.

After posting a bogey-free 66 on the first day, the world number six's second round featured three bogeys, but he closed it out with four consecutive birdies starting on the par-five 15th hole to tie for the best round of the day.

Over his first two rounds, Cantlay has birdied 10 of the 18 holes at Harbour Town.

Speaking to the media after his round, Cantlay explained that his finish was exactly how he wanted to head into the weekend.

"Obviously, that's a dream finish," Cantlay said. "I finally rolled in some putts and that was really nice to see going into the weekend.

"Just staying with my game plan and continuing to leave the golf ball in the right spots, which is paramount around this place, I think is the key."

Six players shot 67 on Friday, including second-placed Robert Streb, who is alone at seven under.

First-round leader Cameron Young could not come close to repeating his unbelievable round of 63, going 10 strokes worse, but he is still very much in the mix in a tie for third at six under with a group of players including Cameron Tringale and Erik van Rooyen.

Chilean pair Joaquin Neimann and Mito Pereira are one shot further back at five under, along with Jordan Spieth, while Corey Conners and Shane Lowry have continued their fine form from The Masters to be in the hunt at four under.

Pre-tournament favourite Collin Morikawa posted his second consecutive 70 to sit in a tie for 34th at two under, but blew a chance to go into round three in the top-20 after double-bogeying the 18th.

Justin Thomas finished one stroke better than the cut-line at one under, while reigning champion Stewart Cink held on to see the weekend at even par along with Webb Simpson and Danny Willett.

Cameron Smith's Masters hangover saw him finish one over, missing the cut along with Dustin Johnson, who followed up Thursday's 72 with an equally disappointing 71.

Other notable names to drop out include Kevin Kisner, Russell Henley and Matt Fitzpatrick, with the latter carding 75 to fall three strokes short.

Cameron Young shot a career-best eight-under 63, with a bogey-free first round to take the lead at the RBC Heritage on Thursday.

The 24-year-old flew out of the gate in his debut at Harbour Town, with five birdies on the front nine, and capped the stunning round off with another on the iconic par-three 18th hole.

Young leads Chile's Joaquin Niemann by two strokes and is three ahead of seven others, including reigning FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay and Shane Lowry, coming off his third-place finish at the Masters last weekend.

Former RBC Heritage winner Graeme McDowell, Mito Pereira, Adam Svenson, Corey Connors and Sepp Straka also put up scores of 66, with another ten a further stroke back, making light work of Harbour Town's famous tight fairways in the opening round.

Morgan Hoffman also played his first round on the PGA Tour since being diagnosed with muscular dystrophy in 2019, remarkably shooting an even-par 71.

After taking out The Masters, world number one Scottie Scheffler will miss the RBC Heritage this year. In what is still a packed field at Harbour Town this weekend, five of the world's top-ten players are taking part.

Meanwhile, Collin Morikawa closed with a bogey in front of the lighthouse on the 18th to finish the opening round on a one-under 70.

Coming off his calamitous final day at The Masters, where his triple-bogey on the 12th at Augusta National dashed his hopes of catching Scheffler, Cameron Smith shot a two-over 73.

Young, a rookie on the PGA Tour, has had second-placed finishes at the Rivera CC and Jackson CC, and qualified for The Masters – where he missed the cut with consecutive scores of 77.

"Honestly, I wanted to play last weekend," Young said. "But in terms of the end of the week, [missing the cut] is not the end of the world.

"I know it would be really nice, but you have good days and bad days and rarely do you have four good ones in a row. I'm glad it came early and I'm happy I kept myself around for the whole tournament."

Stewart Cink cruised to a four-stroke victory as he clinched his third RBC Heritage crown on Sunday.

Winner of the PGA Tour tournament in 2000 and 2004, Cink completed the treble after carding a one-under-par 70 in the final round.

Cink had two birdies and a bogey to finish 19 under, ahead of countryman Harold Varner III (66) and Argentina's Emiliano Grillo (68).

It capped a memorable week for Cink at Habour Town, where the American set the lowest 36- and 54-hole score at the RBC Heritage of 126 and 195 respectively, en route to glory.

"I don't even know if I have the words," Cink said after having his son Reagan as his caddie.

Cink became the seventh player to go 21 years or longer between his first and most recent victory at the same event on Tour.

With the triumph, Cink also became the fourth player (fifth instance) aged 47 or older to win multiple times in a season on Tour since 1960, joining Sam Snead, Julius Boros and Kenny Price (twice), after taking out the Safeway Open.

Aged 47 years, 10 months and 28 days, Cink is also the second oldest RBC Heritage champion following Hale Irwin (48 years, 10 months and 14 days in 1994).

Webb Simpson, who was the defending champion, finished tied for ninth and eight shots off the pace following a final-round 70, while world number one Dustin Johnson (66) was a stroke further back.

"I just feel like I made way too many mistakes," said Johnson, who missed the Masters cut. "Around here, you make mistakes, they penalise you pretty big."

Stewart Cink made history after moving five shots clear in his pursuit of a third RBC Heritage title.

Two-time champion Cink carded a second successive 63 to set the 36-hole record at Harbour Town on Friday.

Cink sits at 16-under 126, five strokes ahead of Corey Conners – eclipsing the previous best midway score of 129 set by Phil Mickelson (2002) and Jack Nicklaus (1975).

The 47-year-old Cink also became the oldest player to hole the 36-hole lead at the RBC Heritage – his last 36-hole lead on the PGA Tour was at the 2008 Travelers Championship.

Cink has catapulted himself to the top of the leaderboard alongside his son and caddie, Reagan.

"He's not just my son caddying, he's a professional caddie doing an excellent job," he said. "He could caddie for any player in the world right now."

Canadian Conners posted a seven-under-par 64 to be outright second, a stroke ahead of Emiliano Grillo (64) heading into the weekend, while overnight leader Cameron Smith (71) fell seven shots behind.

"I think the golfing gods got a few back on me today," Australian Smith said.

Masters runner-up Will Zalatoris shot a four-under-par 67 to be tied for 11th position, nine strokes adrift of Cink.

World number one Dustin Johnson climbed 27th spots following a second-round 67 as he sits 11 shots back.

Defending champion Webb Simpson, meanwhile, is three under at the half-way stage after his 68.

Cameron Smith carded a nine-under-par 62 to set the early pace by one stroke after the first round of the RBC Heritage.

Australian golfer Smith turned in a bogey-free round at Harbour Town on Thursday for the lowest score of his PGA Tour career.

The 2020 Masters runner-up birdied three of the last four holes, just missing an eagle at the last when his approach shot missed the hole by inches. 

Smith finished with nine birdies in the opening round, tying his career record for most birdies in a single round on Tour.

"Everything just came together," Smith told reporters. "It was a great day on the green. I was hitting my irons really good. I had lots of good looks, and I just took advantage of them."

Smith's score matched the lowest opening round in tournament history, joining Davis Love III in 2002 and Peter Lonard three years later. 

The 27-year-old has two career PGA Tour titles, the most recent in January 2020 at the Sony Open in Hawaii. 

"I just feel really comfortable," Smith said. "Mentally I feel very free out there. I feel like I can hit the shot that I need to hit and going ahead and trying to execute it. I just feel like every shot I'm hitting, I'm putting 100 per cent into it, and on a day like today, it's really rewarding."

Two-time champion Stewart Cink started early and was the clubhouse leader with a 63 before Smith's torrid closing stretch left him second on the leaderboard. 

Cink's score on Thursday was the American veteran's best in 75 career rounds at Harbour Town. 

"A round like this doesn't show you there is more out there," Cink said. "A round like this shows you what you're doing is already dead on, and why change anything?"

Matt Wallace and Collin Morikawa are three shots back at six under, followed by Charles Howell III, Billy Horschel and Harold Varner III – who are a stroke further adrift.

Masters runner-up Will Zalatoris shot a three-under-par 68, while world number one Dustin Johnson ended the day eight shots off the pace.

Defending champion Webb Simpson opened his bid for back-to-back titles with a first-round 71, leaving him tied for 67th. 

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