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McIlroy shaving three events off 2013 schedule

Rory McIlroy
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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – He has yet to hit a shot that counts and already 2013 is the year of change for Rory McIlroy, and not just because of his wholesale switch to Nike Golf equipment following Monday’s much-anticipated announcement.

The world No. 1 said on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi that his schedule will be more streamlined than it was in 2012 with three fewer events, including the Ryder Cup (which will be played in 2014) and two stroke-play stops.

The Ulsterman played 25 tournament around the globe in 2012, but said he will cut that to 22 in 2013, with the Ryder Cup, the Fedex St. Jude Classic (a last-minute addition in 2012), Hong Kong Open (which has been removed from the European Tour schedule in 2013) and Dubai Desert Classic off his docket this season.

Instead, McIlroy said he will add the Shell Houston Open two weeks before The Masters. He will begin his 2013 PGA Tour season at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in late February followed by The Honda Classic, where he is the defending champion.

“It’s not a big difference but just enough that I have enough breaks between tournaments that I feel like I’ll be ready and rested for every tournament that I play,” he said.

McIlroy also said he plans to make an early scouting trip to Merion Golf Club, site of this year’s U.S. Open, likely the week after he plays The Memorial Tournament in early June.