European stars' waffling doesn't signal trouble in U.S.

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy

It used to be that when news surfaced, what was first applied was clear thinking supplemented by perspective.

We seem to have forgotten that.

Take, for example, Rory McIlroy’s announcement that he isn’t going to take PGA Tour membership in 2011, as he had in 2010. Is it a notable news item? No question. But it surely didn’t deserve the gloom-and-doom blanket that was tossed about, as if the young man from Northern Ireland was the foundation upon which the PGA Tour was built.

An immense talent with great charisma, McIlroy, 10th in the world order, joins No. 1 Lee Westwood and No. 3 Martin Kaymer as fully committed to the PGA European Tour for 2011. No dual memberships for them.

No. 9 Graeme McDowell is debating whether to join both tours. Ditto No. 14 Ian Poulter. It is expected that Nos. 7, 8 and 21 – Paul Casey, Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington, respectively – will again opt for dual membership.

Andy Pazder, PGA Tour senior vice president of tournament administration, said players have 30 days from the end of the Children’s Miracle Network Classic to return their membership paperwork. But regardless which boxes come back checked, let’s not suggest McIlroy’s decision sends a signal for Camp Ponte Vedra Beach to reassess and reassemble.

Instead, let’s try perspective. Remember when warnings were sounded in late 2008, skeptics predicting that the European Tour’s “Race for Dubai” would lead players to play more in Europe and less in America?

Call it golf’s version of “Dewey defeats Truman.” So before we generate another round of that, let’s remember this back-and-forth by players has been going on for 25 years or so – but it always has been European players to the U.S., and that hasn’t changed.

When American players ditch their home tour to take European Tour membership, then offer up the warnings.

But until then, we have a young man seemingly conceding that he should have listened to his management team and not spread himself too thin in 2010. McIlroy has yet to win on the European Tour this year, and you have to figure that answering to two masters didn’t help.

Just spare us the hot air about the FedEx Cup being “all about the money,” because the Race for Dubai has dollar signs all over it.

When it comes to chasing money to all parts of the globe, European stars wrote the script.

McIlroy played 15 times on American soil this year. He’ll play nine or 10 times in 2011.

No, he won’t be a PGA Tour member. He’ll just be reaping the rewards that the PGA Tour provides quite handsomely.

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