By Bernie McGuire
KOHLER, Wisconsin (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy has ruled out competing in a third straight Australian Open later this year, the Northern Irish world number one has told Reuters.
McIlroy, back in action at this week's PGA Championship after being sidelined for 40 days with an ankle injury, said he did not plan to add any new events to an already busy end-of-season playing schedule.
"I was only contracted to play the one Australian Open but then after winning in 2013 I wanted to show respect to the tournament by defending my title," McIlroy, 26, told Reuters before Thursday's opening round at Whistling Straits.
"But it's not on my schedule this year."
McIlroy's victory in December 2013 at the Australian Open set the tone for a remarkable 2014 campaign highlighted by four wins worldwide, two of them in the majors.
Back in competition this week for the first time since he tied for ninth in the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in June, McIlroy will next set his sights on the four lucrative FedExCup events that conclude the PGA Tour season.
He then plans to compete for the first time in the Oct. 15-18 Frys.com Open in Napa, California, the PGA Tour's season-opener for 2015-16.
"That was the deal we had with the (PGA) Tour when we competed out in Turkey a few years back," said McIlroy, referring to the inaugural eight-man World Golf Final in Belek, Turkey in late 2012.
"But then I am also looking forward to the Fry's as I've never been to that part of California before."
After competing in the Frys.com Open, McIlroy will switch his focus back to the last few events on the European Tour, including the WGC–HSBC Champions event in Shanghai and season-ending DP World Tour Championship.
"Despite my time away with injury, I don't intend to start adding any more tournaments here and there because after this week at Whistling Straits I do intend to take it easy," McIlroy said.
The Northern Irishman, who won last year's PGA Championship, has been sidelined since he ruptured a ligament in his ankle while playing soccer with friends on July 4.
"This is my first week back after the injury," said McIlroy.
"Of course, we are not expecting any problems but then given the seriousness of my injury, I will still have to cross every 'T' and dot every 'I'."
(Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes/Larry Fine)