Paul McGinley reflects on Rory McIlroy’s decision to focus on the PGA Tour in 2019 and discusses Justin Rose skipping the DP World Tour Championship.
It’s quite extraordinary that Rory’s not going to play just two more events to fulfil his European Tour membership next season. It’s very disappointing and it is obviously a blow for the European Tour.
I’ve been racking my brains wondering how that can be. Obviously Rory sees it in other ways and has got his own rationale for that, although I’m finding it hard to understand!
Of the 12 players that represented Europe in the Ryder Cup this year, Rory is the only one who is going to do that and the others have all signed up to play the minimum of four events outside of the majors and WGCs.
The FedExCup finishes in August next year, so you’ve got all of September, October, November and December where the PGA Tour is played in Malaysia, Korea and various other places.
Is Rory going to play in those rather than play in Dubai, where he has had unbelievable success and offers the exact same prize money as those events? Or is he just not going to play at all over the last four months?
We’ve already reduced the number of events players have to play on the European Tour from five down to four, just to make it easy for the guys, like Rory, who are playing a worldwide schedule.
In order to be a Ryder Cup player, you must be a member on the European Tour. It is right at the very minimum at the moment and the European Tour don’t feel that four is huge task to meet.
I don’t think Rory is worried about what is going to happen in 20 years, which is what he would be looking at if he was going to become Ryder Cup captain or vice-captain. At this moment, he is worried about his golf and focused on what he’s doing in the next 12 months.
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At the end of the day, these players are sole traders and they make their own decisions. They make their own schedules and whether it be the PGA Tour or the European Tour, it’s very hard to get them to turn up. They will do what they want to do!
No Rose in Dubai
The biggest challenge for Tour administrators is trying to get all of the players to play in big events. Outside of the majors, every other event in the world of golf struggles to get the top players playing.
Rose is third in the Race to Dubai at the moment and standing on a potential bonus of $600,000 if he were to play this week and stay in that position, but he has said he is not going to play. That just goes to show how much money is available to the top players and how much they can walk away from.
I think it’s disappointing from a European Tour point of view, as it’s our flagship event at the end of the year when the top players gather in the sun. Justin came last year and pushed Tommy Fleetwood very close in a thrilling climax to the Race to Dubai.
The rumour mill is that Justin is changing equipment and he is currently away testing the equipment that he’s going to put in to play next year, so he is looking forward to next year already.
He lives in the Bahamas and he’s probably thinking he might not want to come all the way over here for one week, but for $600,000 as well as whatever else he would win here, it’s a big call.
Watch the DP World Tour Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports Golf!
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