Rory McIlroy Makes European Tour U-turn

Rory McIlroy looks to have made a dramatic u-turn and changed his 2019 schedule to ensure he does not lose European Tour membership.

The Northern Irishman said in November, when contesting the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, that he was planning to give up his European Tour membership in favour of concentrating on the PGA Tour in 2019.

Rory McIlroy almost didn’t qualify for European Tour

With the four-time major winning planning to spend the majority of his time stateside, rather than spreading it between both tours as in previous years, it would have meant McIlroy not playing in enough tournaments on the European Tour schedule in 2019 to fulfil the minimum requirement for membership.

That requirement is four tournaments outside of the four majors and World Golf Championship events, which are co-sanctioned by both tours. That rule was brought in from 2018 and McIlroy would fall short with his planned programme of playing the majority of next year in the United States.

Will most likely not play in two of the three tournaments

But, according to newspaper reports, talks between McIlroy and European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley have resulted in the likelihood that he will not play in two of three tournaments—the Dubai Desert Classic, Irish Open and BMW PGA Championship—to reach the threshold for membership. The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is another event that could be shoehorned into McIlroy’s schedule to preserve his European Tour membership.

Rory McIlroy had played on the Desert Swing in 2018 when starting the year with top-3 finishes in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, two of the tournaments he could yet commit to for 2019. He was also second in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, an event which has moved to later in the year in 2019.

Rory McIlroy had previously 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.”

Failure to meet the four-tournament threshold means McIlroy would sacrifice the chance to be a Ryder Cup captain in future years, although that is something about which the 29-year-old has never had any thoughts.

Faced criticism for prior European Tour decisions

McIlroy has faced criticism for his original decision from several current and former European Tour stars, but it was the direct meeting with Pelley that is said to have resulted in his choice to go back on his original decision.

McIlroy will, however, start his season in the United States with his first appearance of 2019 set to come in the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in the first week of January. He qualified for the event courtesy of his victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational during the 2018 season.

The Sony Open, also in Hawaii the following week, Desert Classic, Farmers Insurance Open, Waste Management Phoenix Open, AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Genesis Open, WGC-Mexico Championship, Honda Classic, Arnold Palmer Invitational, The Players Championship, WGC Matchplay and Texas Open all take place in the opening three months of the season ahead of The Masters at Augusta in April.

Also read: Professional Golf League Rejected By Rory McIlroy

You May Also Like

New World Record Set as Golfer Plays Longest Hole

New World Record Set as Golfer Plays Longest Hole

A new world record has been set after a golfer completed a 1,250-mile hole ...

Tiger Woods PopStroke opening

Tiger Woods PopStroke opening in Fort Myers next month

Tiger Woods PopStroke is opening in Fort Myers next month, ultimately giving it a ...

Dustin Johnson secures PGA title

Dustin Johnson Secures PGA Title in FedEx Cup Win

Dustin Johnson secures his 2nd PGA Tour title after winning the first FedExcup play-off ...

Official PGA TOUR Essential Guide to Golf 2020

New PGA TOUR Season Guide for 2020

The new PGA TOUR season is here and looking different than ever with the ...

European Tour Event in Saudi Arabia Turned Down By Rory McIlroy

“There’s a morality to it,” said star player Rory McIlroy of the European Tour ...

Tiger Woods' 2018 schedule image courtesy Tony Bowler / Shutterstock.com

Tiger Woods’ 2018 Schedule Revealed for Opening Months

Tiger Woods has confirmed the first two events he will be playing in this ...