McIlroy Changes Plans; Will Now Play Next Week in San Antonio

Rory McIlroy was slated to play only in this week's Shell Houston Open prior to the Masters in two weeks. But after receiving a suggestion from his caddie, J.P. Fitzgerald, the 23-year-old Northern Irishman changed his mind and will now compete in next week's Valero Texas Open in advance of the year's first major championship.

McIlroy, who's posted rounds of 73, 70 and 71 on the Championship Course at Redstone Golf Club in Humble, Texas, the past three days, has only played 12 competitive rounds this year and admits he needs the work.

"What's best for me right now is competitive golf and playing rounds," McIlroy told reporters Friday at the Houston Open.

"The more golf you play, I guess, the more savvy you become," he added. "I think it's a good decision. I'm looking forward to getting a few more rounds under our belt going into Augusta."

His decision to play at TPC San Antonio in the Texas Open meant that he had to cancel a two-day trip to Haiti where he was slated to meet with children on a humanitarian trip as a UNICEF ambassador for Ireland. He made a similar sojourn last year to the island nation, which was damaged extensively by an earthquake in 2010.

McIlroy said he had to make "a few tough phone calls" to notify organizers of his change in plans. "UNICEF was great about it," he noted. "I'm a big supporter of what they do all over the world. Hopefully, I can make it up to them in some way."