Rory McIlroy will compete in 2020 Irish Open after missing this year's event

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McIlroy aims to cut Koepka's rankings lead over coming weeks

Rory McIlroy has said he will compete in next year's Irish Open whenever or wherever it is played.

The world number two missed this year's event at Lahinch in early July to focus on preparing for The Open at Royal Portrush, where he missed the cut.

However, next year's Irish Open is set to move to a May date because of PGA Tour scheduling changes.

"I said I wouldn't miss it two years in a row so people can expect to see me there," McIlroy, 30, told BBC Sport NI.

As part of changes made to accommodate the Tokyo Olympics, the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational has been moved to the first week of July.

"No matter where or when it is scheduled, it wouldn't be ideal for it to clash with the World Golf Championship," added the Northern Ireland man, who recently clinched the Tour Championship title in the US.

"If it's that May date they are contemplating I will be back for it."

Rahm to defend Irish Open title

Also speaking before this week's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, Jon Rahm confirmed that he will defend his Irish Open title next year.

"It was a really easy decision. I won it two years out of three," said the 24-year-old Spaniard.

"I am defending champion and have a responsibility to be there. Even it clashed with the WGC in July I would still have been there."

The venue for next year's tournament is yet to be confirmed although Kilkenny course Mount Juliet has emerged as the favourite.

Rory McIlroy with Brooks Koepka at the recent Tour Championship in the US
McIlroy pipped world number one Brooks Koepka to be named PGA Tour Player of the Year

McIlroy hopes to cut Koepka's world rankings lead

McIlroy admitted that family considerations are also part of his reasoning for preferring the May date, given the Fourth of July period in the US where he is now based.

"The Fourth of July weekend in the States is a big deal for my now extended family, with my wife, my mother-in-law, father-in-law and celebrating that with them. There's a lot that goes into it other than golf.

"It [the July date] might work for everyone else. It might not work for me but I don't want them to change the date just for me."

McIlroy won the 2016 Irish Open when it was played at the K Club and was tournament host from 2015 to 2018 before opting out of this year's event where Paul McGinley fulfilled the role.

This week's Wentworth event is among five remaining tournaments for McIlroy in 2019 and the Northern Irishman says he hopes to chip away at Brooks Koepka's lead in the world rankings over the coming weeks.

"I'd like to get close to the world number one spot. That's a goal of mine."

McIlroy was the choice of his peers for the PGA Tour player of the year award but the American still has a considerable lead over him in the rankings.

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