PORTSTEWART, Northern Ireland — Rory McIlroy is taking a break from social media after getting embroiled in a Twitter spat with a fellow golfer, Steve Elkington.

After McIlroy missed the cut by four shots at the U.S. Open last month, Elkington, a former PGA champion, tweeted that the Northern Irishman was “bored” of playing golf because he had plenty of money in the bank.

McIlroy, a four-time major winner, sent a tweet in response to Elkington before posting a screenshot of his Wikipedia entry that lists some of his achievements in the game.

“I sort of regret sending it at the end,” McIlroy said Wednesday, “but I actually gave my wife, Erica, my phone and my Twitter and told her, ‘Change my password to something else and don’t tell me what it is.’

“So as of the time being, I’m off social media just because of that reason. I don’t need to read it. It’s stuff that shouldn’t get to you and sometimes it does.”

Speaking ahead of the Irish Open at Portstewart Golf Club, an event that benefits his foundation, McIlroy said he would have ignored the criticism if it had come from a member of the public or media.

“But a former player that has won a major and been successful, that’s sort of why it got to me,” McIlroy said, “and that’s why I sort of retaliated a little bit.”

McIlroy hasn’t won – or seriously contended at – a major since capturing the 2014 PGA Championship. The British Open takes place July 20-23 at Royal Birkdale and he played there last week. McIlroy is fit again after an injury-hit 2017.

“I’m close,” said McIlroy, ranked No. 4. “I’ve got two big opportunities coming up this summer. Birkdale is a golf course I feel I can do well at. And then Quail Hollow for the PGA, I’ve won there two times, my first win on the PGA Tour and last time I won by seven.

“I think they are two opportunities for me to get back on the major ladder.”

McIlroy won the Irish Open last year. He plays alongside Jon Rahm and Hideki Matsuyama in the first two rounds.

PHIL MICKELSON heads into the next phase of his career with a new caddie on a course marking its comeback from devastating floods in West Virginia.

Mickelson will have his brother, Tim, on his bag starting Thursday at the Greenbrier Classic in his first tournament since parting ways with his caddie of 25 years, Jim “Bones” Mackay.

Tim Mickelson will be his older brother’s caddie for the rest of the year. Phil Mickelson said the new arrangement brings a comfort level that could help his game.

The tournament was canceled last year after torrential downpours triggered flooding that killed 23 people statewide and caused extensive damage to The Greenbrier resort and the Old White TPC in White Sulphur Springs.

THE BRITISH Open is paying its prize money this year in American dollars.

Golf’s oldest championship announced that the total purse will be $10,250,000, with $1.845 million going to the winner.

The R&A chief, Martin Slumbers, said the Open won’t use the British sterling this year because of what he called an increasingly global marketplace.