HONG KONG — Rory McIlroy intends to spend more time playing in the U.S next year, juggling his commitments with the European Tour as he seeks to make an impact on both sides of the Atlantic.
The U.S. Open Champion from Northern Ireland carries a career-best world ranking of No. 2 into the Hong Kong Open, which gets under way on Thursday at the Hong Kong Golf Club, Fanling.
“I will add on a couple more events to my schedule in America next year,” McIlroy said Tuesday. “It won’t be a drastic change, but I love playing on the golf courses in the U.S.”
“But this doesn’t mean I’m going to neglect Europe. I will continue to play on the European Tour like I did this year, spending time between both tours.”
McIlroy, who recently split with longtime manager Chubby Chandler, reduced his playing commitments on the PGA Tour this season figuring in only 10 tournaments, down from a high of 16 in 2010.
He pointed to world No. 1 Luke Donald as an example of someone who has successfully played both sides of the Atlantic.
“Luke (Donald) has proved this year that that it can be done. He has played on both tours and he heads the money list on both as well,” McIlroy said.
Englishman Donald topped the PGA Tour money list with earnings of more than $6.5 million from 19 tournament appearances, and heads the European Tour’s Race to Dubai with winnings of more than $5.1 million from a dozen events.
McIlroy, who finished a comparatively low 29th on the concluded PGA Tour money list with $2.3 million, is currently in third place on the European Tour money list and is hoping a good share of the $2.75 million on offer in Hong Kong this week will reduce his gap to Donald.
“I certainly hope this will be my year. I have come close twice in Hong Kong, finishing second in 2008 and 2009. Maybe this time I can do it,” McIlroy said.
The field also include defending champion Ian Poulter and England World Cup-teammate Justin Rose, and former major champions Padraig Harrington and YE Yang.
“I have been coming to Hong Kong since I was 15 and I just love this place. It is one of my favorite cities and I hope I can win this tournament for the first time,” McIlroy said. “This has been a great year for me and I hope to finish it off in style.”