The Official World Golf Rankings decided to unfreeze the ranking system when the PGA Tour resumed at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, last week after a hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
That didn’t sit well with some European players, including former world number one Lee Westwood of England, who felt the burden of self-isolating for two weeks upon arrival in the States and for two weeks when travelling back to Europe, was too much.
“I mean if you really care about your career and care about moving forward you should be here,” world number one McIlroy said Wednesday as he prepared to tee it up for the second straight week in the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
The European Tour won’t resume until the British Masters on July 22, and players who don’t travel Stateside before then can see their rankings suffer.
But McIlroy, who maintains a home in Florida, voiced little sympathy for players such as England’s Tommy Fleetwood, who slipped out of the top 10 to No. 11.
“Look, personally, if I were in their shoes and I was asked to come over to the States and shelter in place or quarantine for two weeks before these tournaments, I would have done that,” the 31-year-old said.
“I get there’s different variables and families and stuff involved, but we all have the means to rent a very nice house in a gated community in Florida … it’s not a hardship to come over and quarantine.”
McIlroy also said he thought the PGA Tour was doing a good job in implementing protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Told that the tour had reported a second straight week of zero positive coronavirus tests — after conducting 954 tests of players, caddies and family members — McIlroy said he wasn’t surprised.
“I feel like the plan that has been put in place here has been very good,” McIlroy said. “It’s great to hear that two weeks in a row there’s no positive tests. That’s what we just have to keep doing.”
McIlroy was three shots off the lead heading into the final round at Colonial on Sunday, but fired a four-over par 74 to finished tied for 32nd.
That ended the Northern Ireland star’s streak of US PGA Tour top-five finishes that stretched back to August 2019.