There are often times that we talk about great players losing their professional tour cards, whether that be in America or abroad. But this week, Rory McIlroy is giving us a different angle, talking about actually forfeiting his European Tour card.
Playing in Dubai this week, Rory had a lot of press appearances talking about his ultimate legacy in golf. He’s about to turn 30 but has already racked up an unbelievable career that has given him a virtual lock on a spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame. Still, McIlroy is seeking other ways in which he can build upon his already great career.
To add to his achievements, it seems as though McIlroy believes that playing in Europe can no longer do that for him. He told the media that the best players and fields for tournaments are almost always in America.
After he was off camera, he continued by saying that he is seriously considering giving up his European Tour card for the 2019 season to focus on playing in the states and preparing for major championships on the PGA TOUR.
Rory McIlroy speaks to the media during a press conference prior to the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates on November 13, 2018 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
“For the most part of the season, (the best fields are) in America,” McIlroy said. “Right now, that is all sort of up in the air, but if it were to be that I don’t fulfill 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, so if that does happen, so be it, and I will try and make the Ryder Cup team the year after.”
As McIlroy mentioned, there can be some Ryder Cup consequences if he chooses not to participate in the European Tour. A new rule states that no player can be a captain or vice-captain on Team Europe if they haven’t met the requirements of a European Tour member.
Even if Rory doesn’t want to play in Europe, those qualifications are easy to hit, playing just four tournaments in Europe. He’s already committed to two events this year, so I’m sure he can find two more that won’t conflict with his schedule.
It’s interesting to see a player who has always competed on the European Tour and grown up around it treat the association as second class but it seems like it could be just smoke. You should fully expect McIlroy to keep his European Tour card and compete across the pond for the next several years.
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