Caddie convinces McIlroy to play

Rory McIlroy never considered entering the Texas Open the week before the Masters until caddie J.P. Fitzgerald suggested it.

McIlroy thought about it over lunch after his second round at the Houston Open on Friday and sent Fitzgerald a text message saying he thought it was a good idea.

”I ended up thinking to myself, OK, let’s just do for these next couple of weeks what’s best for me,” said McIlroy, No. 2 in the world. ”What’s best for me right now is competitive golf and playing rounds.”

Last year, McIlroy missed two straight cuts and made a late commitment to play in the St. Jude Classic the week before the US Open. He tied for seventh in Memphis and then missed the cut at The Olympic Club.

He seemed encouraged after shooting a 71 in the Houston Open on Saturday. But he has completed only 11 competitive rounds this year and agreed with Fitzgerald that he would benefit from another tournament heading to Augusta.

”Everything feels good in my game,” he said. ”It’s just about playing a bit more competitive golf and just getting a little sharper. I just feel a little rusty out there, at times.”

The Houston Open was McIlroy’s first event since Doral, so he wasn’t worried about wearing himself out before Masters week.

”The more golf you play, I guess, the more savvy you become,” McIlroy said. ”I think it’s a good decision. I’m looking forward to getting a few more rounds under our belt going into Augusta.”

His commitment to San Antonio forced him to cancel a two-day humanitarian trip to Haiti, where he was going to meet with children and families affected by the 2010 earthquake. McIlroy is an Ireland ambassador to UNICEF and traveled to Haiti in 2011, before winning the US Open at Congressional, his first major championship.

McIlroy made ”a few tough phone calls” to organizers on Friday to inform them of his change in plans.

”UNICEF was great about it,” he said. ”I’m a big supporter of what they do all over the world. Hopefully, I can make it up to them in some way.”