McIlroy to give up European Tour membership in 2019

‘I want to play against the strongest fields’: Rory McIlroy to give up his European Tour membership in 2019 to continue his ‘journey back to the top’

  • Rory McIlroy will give up his European Tour membership for the 2019 season 
  • He revealed his decision just two days before the DP World Tour Championship
  • Big changes in golf’s schedule have led McIlroy to focus on the US PGA Tour
  • He also hinted that other golfers may make similar choices for next season
  • McIlroy insisted that he would not make the same decision in a Ryder Cup year  

Rory McIlroy has delivered a major blow to the European Tour, revealing he will be giving up his membership for the 2019 season to focus on the US-based PGA Tour.

The news comes just two days before the season-ending DP World Tour Championship and is a result of big changes to the golf schedule next year. 

McIlroy only intends to play two full-field European Tour events in the first half of 2019 and has made the decision as it is not a Ryder Cup year – he insisted he would not have done the same thing if it was.

Rory McIlroy has revealed he will give up his European Tour membership for the 2019 season 

Rory McIlroy has revealed he will give up his European Tour membership for the 2019 season 

The Northern Irishman delivered the news two days before the DP World Tour Championship

The Northern Irishman delivered the news two days before the DP World Tour Championship

The three-time Race to Dubai champion will spending most of his time in the USA because the Players’ Championship and the US PGA Championship have been brought forward to March and May respectively. 

That has pushed the European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, to September and McIlroy warned that he might not be the only high-profile name to make the move.

McIlroy explained: ‘It is the result of the changes. 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.

‘The way the schedule has worked for next year, it is going to be different for a lot of guys. 

McIlroy has endured a tough two seasons
his last win came back in 2016

McIlroy has endured a tough two seasons… his last win came at this tournament in 2016

‘Everything is going to be so condensed between March and August, and that is why I am taking a big off season to get myself ready. 

‘Then I’ll go at it hard from March all the way through to basically the end of the season.

‘I am starting my year off in the States (Tournament of Champions in January) and that will be the big focus of mine up until the end of August, and then we will assess it from there.’

The former world No 1 is ranked seventh currently and has only won once since claiming the 2016 Tour Championship.

He feels that playing on the PGA Tour against the ‘strongest fields’ as regularly as possible will give him the best possible chance to add to his four majors – the last of which came in 2014. 

His last major victory was US PGA Championship in 2014, something he wants to change

His last major victory was US PGA Championship in 2014, something he wants to change

‘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,’ he added. 

‘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 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.’

McIlroy heads into the World Tour Championship ranked sixth in the Race to Dubai. 

But he has no chance of winning the Order of Merit crown for the fourth time, only Ryder Cup heroes Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood can win the race.

 

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