Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

McIlroy: Caddy convinced me to skip Haiti for Texas

March 31, 2013 -- Updated 1341 GMT (2141 HKT)
Rory McIlroy has pulled out of a planned UNICEF trip to Haiti.
Rory McIlroy has pulled out of a planned UNICEF trip to Haiti.
  • McIlroy pulls out of planned trip to Haiti to play more tournament golf ahead of the Masters
  • Northern Irishman will play Texas Open next week before heading on to Augusta National
  • World number two has struggled with his form in 2013 following big-money equipment switch
  • He goes into final round in Houston nine shots behind the leading duo

(CNN) -- Rory McIlroy has apologized after putting his need for more competitive golf action ahead of a planned humanitarian visit to Haiti next week -- and said his caddy had played a big part in the decision.

The world No. 2 was due to visit Haiti on Monday and Tuesday in his role as a UNICEF ambassador following the end of this weekend's PGA Tour event in Houston. He first went to the Caribbean country in 2011 to meet people affected by the devastating earthquake the previous year.

However, following his second round at the Houston Open the two-time major winner decided that he would add the Texas Open to his schedule in order to hav more time on the course ahead of the Masters at Augusta starting April 11.

"Unfortunately, I have had to postpone my planned trip to Haiti, with UNICEF, due to a change in my playing commitments," the 23-year-old said in a statement issued on his behalf by UNICEF Ireland.

Leaderboard: Follow the final round at Houston

"I am a strong supporter of UNICEF's work and I was privileged to be given the opportunity to visit Haiti, with UNICEF, nearly two years ago. We are currently looking at dates to reschedule my trip and I look forward to visiting Haiti very soon." 

Distraction: Tiny golf prodigy
Tiger, Palmer, Trevino fight thieves
Living Golf meets Bubba

McIlroy has struggled to repeat his dominance of last season, when he topped both the U.S. and European Tour money lists and won his second major at the PGA Championship in August.

After the long-awaited news of his reported $250 million switch to Nike equipment was finally confirmed, he missed the cut in Abu Dhabi in January and was knocked out in the first round of the WGC Matchplay in Arizona in February.

Later that month, he controversially walked off the course at the Honda Classic in Florida, saying both that his wisdom tooth was causing pain and that he was frustrated by a flaw in his swing.

His decision to miss last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational raised eyebrows given his lack of tournament golf, and Tiger Woods' victory allowed the 14-time major winner to regain the world No. 1 spot from his young rival.

McIlroy made the cut at Redstone, but three bogeys in his last six holes saw him fade to a tie for 48th after Saturday's third round -- which left him nine shots behind leaders Bill Haas and Stewart Cink.

After his one-under-par 71, McIlroy explained that his caddy J.P. Fitzgerald had convinced him that he needed extra tournament play in San Antonio next week.

Read: McIlroy blames 'stupid mistakes'

"(It was) something I hadn't thought about until basically after I finished yesterday," McIlroy said on the PGA Tour website Saturday.

"J.P. was the one that mentioned it to me. He said, 'If you just play a few more rounds, I think you're going to be ready.' I didn't really think about it too much and sat down, had some lunch, started to think about it and I texted him and said, 'I don't think this is a bad idea.'

"Probably took me an hour or two to sort of think about it and decide about.''

McIlroy has not had much tournament play this year, and he acknowledged that he is feeling "rusty."

"I just feel like I'm playing well, I'm hitting the ball well. Everything feels good," he said.

Read: McIlroy happy to chase Tiger

"It's just about playing a bit more competitive course and getting a little sharper. I feel a little rusty out there at times. I think the more rounds I play, the better it will be for me going into Augusta."

Cink is looking for his first victory since the 2009 British Open, but he and Haas were just one shot ahead of a group of four players -- and another nine were a stroke further back, including former major winners Louis Oosthuizen, Angel Cabrera and Keegan Bradley plus ex-world No. 1 Lee Westwood.

Three-time Masters winner Phil Mickelson was five shots adrift, having moved up the leaderboard with a 67 as he seeks his second Houston victory.

Part of complete coverage on
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1547 GMT (2347 HKT)
If golf has a reputation for being a bit stuffy, then the Bryan brothers and their trick shots are a much-needed blast of fresh air.
December 11, 2014 -- Updated 1318 GMT (2118 HKT)
Not many people make the leap from teenage market trader to golf pro and fashion entrepreneur, but that's just what Ian Poulter has done.
November 12, 2014 -- Updated 1129 GMT (1929 HKT)
"Sleep, as far as mental and physical recovery goes, has never been more important ..." says sport sleep coach Nick Littlehales.
November 4, 2014 -- Updated 1024 GMT (1824 HKT)
Joe Miller is devouring his second steak of the day and the clock has barely nudged 2pm. You need lots of fuel to smash a drive 474 yards.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1449 GMT (2249 HKT)
There have been many dark days for Oliver Wilson, but golf's unluckiest loser is finally riding an upward swing of his career roller coaster.
October 7, 2014 -- Updated 1648 GMT (0048 HKT)
They dress like it's the 1930s and they swing antique equipment that eschews cutting-edge technology -- this is hickory golf.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1609 GMT (0009 HKT)
CNN's Living Golf focuses on women's golf, charting the growth of the sport from royal pastime to multi-million dollar machine.
October 1, 2014 -- Updated 0846 GMT (1646 HKT)
"I don't know how to paint happy," says golf's poster girl Michelle Wie. "I think it releases a lot of the darker feelings in me."
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1213 GMT (2013 HKT)
Phil Mickelson of the United States talks during a press conference after the United States were defeated by Europe after the Singles Matches of the 2014 Ryder Cup on the PGA Centenary course at the Gleneagles Hotel on September 28, 2014 in Auchterarder, Scotland.
If you're a U.S. golf fan, or Tom Watson, look away now.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT)
A ban on uploading social media pictures from the course at Gleneagles was dropped for the Ryder Cup.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1052 GMT (1852 HKT)
A spot of shopping, the odd spa day and some serious flag waving. Welcome to the life of a Ryder Cup WAG.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1301 GMT (2101 HKT)
Tom Watson has learned plenty in the 21 years since he was last U.S. Ryder Cup captain, but social media is proving to be problematic.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1243 GMT (2043 HKT)
Patriotism will reach fever pitch when the USA and Europe collide in golf's Ryder Cup ... and it looks like Rickie Fowler has let it go to his head.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
Pressure is inescapable in the cauldron of Ryder Cup competition -- pressure and ping pong.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
Millions of golf fans were watching on television with great anticipation. All Martin Kaymer could think about was getting his phone out.