McIlroy to focus on PGA tour in 2019

Ruben Hill
November 14, 2018

I will play the WGCs and majors and events like that, but the true European Tour season does not start until July.

Rory McIlroy is at the DP World Tour Championships for the Race to Dubai series finale this week, but has made it clear that the European Tour is not his priority next season.

But here's another wrinkle, thanks to a new rule that was enacted in January: "Players can not be a European Ryder Cup captain or vice captain if they decline membership of the European Tour or fail to fulfill their minimum event obligation in any season".

"I've got two events on my schedule in Europe". But McIlroy is skipping them and is likely not to return to competitive golf until either the Pebble Beach Pro-Am or Genesis Open. For the most part, when I think about the year, I played those events and I peaked in those events, the ones that matter to me. I don't have to commit to anything until May, so I will not have played a European Tour event.

McIlroy said during his press conference on Tuesday that he was unsure if he was going to retain his European Tour membership in 2019 as he turns his focus back to winning majors and competing against the strongest fields every week.

As a PGA Tour member, McIlroy is required to play 15 tournaments, and aside from the four major championships, he'll have plenty of choices, especially when the schedule is extremely busy in late February up until the Masters. It is good for the European Tour because they have events to shine. While giving up membership in a non-Ryder Cup year does not impact his playing status, new rules state that giving up membership makes you ineligible to be a captain or vice captain in the future.

The eight events each have a prize fund of at least £5.4m, with the BMW PGA Championship moving to September and the Italian Open to October following the US PGA Championship decision to switch from August to May.

The Northern Irishman is searching for answers following a disappointing season and, in the year when he will turn 30, believes his career is best served by concentrating almost all his energies on playing on the PGA Tour in America.

"And if I want to continue to contend in the majors and continue my journey back towards the top of the game, that's what I want to do".

The Northern Irishman who has played both the PGA Tour and European Tour for all but one year since 2009 said at the DP World Championship that he will concentrate on the PGA Tour because it will help him better prepare for the major championships.

Ryder Cup team-mate Casey has also chose to skip the event, while an injury to American Julian Suri makes it three eligible players not on the entry list for the event. 'The way the schedule has worked for next year, it is going to be different for a lot of guys.

"And it's a big shift but I think it's good for a lot of reasons". Justin Rose may not be here, but Xander Schauffele - who can curiously still win the Race to Dubai despite only teeing up once on European soil - is, and so are the likes of Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Patrick Reed.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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