McIlroy defends recent no-shows
Rory McIlroy insists he has made a low-key start to the year to try and keep himself fresh for the big events and avoid burn-out.
The Northern Irishman, who will turn 23 on Friday, has only played in six events in 2012 and this week's appearance at the Wells Fargo Championship will be just his second outing in eight weeks. But it is all part of the plan for the US Open champion, who wants to make sure that he stays at the top of the sport for as long as possible. "I don't want to be burned out by the time I'm 30," he told reporters. "I want to try and prolong my career as much as I can. I sometimes take a little bit too much out of myself, especially at the end of the season." The Holywood-born star has enjoyed an excellent year to date, with victory in the Honda Classic, while he has finished in the top five in all but one of his events in 2010. His one disappointment was in the Masters, where he was unable to get anything going and finished in a share of 40th place. And the world number two admits that it is the bigger tournaments that get him motivated and the early part of the campaign is more about fine-tuning his game for a tilt at glory over the summer. "Basically the most important time for me in the golf season is from the start of April until the end of August," he added. "That's when all the big tournaments are and that's when you want to play your best golf." McIlroy will head into this year's US Open as the defending champion after blitzing the field with an eight-shot victory at Congressional last year. And he defended his lack of playing time in recent weeks with a pledge to show his true colours over the next five months. "I know I've been criticised a little bit for not playing as much as some other guys leading into these few weeks, but I know I've got a big stretch coming up and I want to be as fresh as possible for this," he added.