The four-time major winner may not fulfil his European Tour membership next year
Rory McIlroy To Focus On PGA Tour In 2019
Rory McIlroy has hinted that he may not fulfil his European Tour membership in 2019 and instead will focus on the big events in America.
The four-time major winner is in Dubai this week for the DP World Tour Championship where he revealed what his 2019 schedule may look like.
He is going to begin his year in Hawaii at the Tournament of Champions before starting his season properly in March.
This means that he will not be playing either of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship or Dubai Desert Classic – events he has tended to include in his schedule in the past.
March sees the Players Championship take place in a new schedule which also sees the USPGA Championship move to May and the BMW PGA Championship move to September.
McIlroy will focus his season initially on the big events in America which may compromise his European Tour membership, which “isn’t the end of the world” he says due to it not being a Ryder Cup year.
Whilst it isn’t a Ryder Cup year, it would have big implications on any future Ryder Cup Captaincy if he were to not take up membership.
New rules state that players must keep up their European Tour membership every year to have a chance of becoming a Captain or Vice Captain.
“It is the result of the changes,” he explained during his pre-tournament press conference in Dubai.
“I don’t have to commit to anything until May, so I will not have played a European Tour event.
“I will play the WGCs and majors and events like that, but the true European Tour season does not start until July.
“That [the PGA Tour] will be the big focus of mine up until the end of August, and then we will assess it from there,” he said.
“I guess my thing is that I want to play against the strongest fields week in and week out, and for the most part of the season that is in America.
“If I want to continue to contend in the majors and to continue my journey back towards the top of the game, then that’s what I want to do.
“If it were to be that I don’t fulfil my [European Tour] membership next year, it’s not a Ryder Cup year so it’s not the end of the world.
“I am always going to want to play the Ryder Cup and I will try and make the team the year later.”
To fulfil a European Tour membership, players must play in four regular European Tour sanctioned events to make 12 in total.
That means four majors, four WGCs and four regular events.
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McIlroy would likely play in the Irish Open which he and his foundation host and is also going to play in the Omega European Masters due to his sponsor.
Other big European Tour events he could choose would be tournaments like the Scottish Open, BMW PGA Championship, DP World Tour Championship and Turkish Airlines Open.
The European Tour events he has played in this year (outside of majors and WGCs) are: Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Dubai Desert Classic, BMW PGA Championship, Irish Open, Nedbank Golf Challenge and DP World Tour Championship.
However, with his omission of the two big middle eastern events early in the year in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, it does look like he will be struggling to complete the full quota.
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