Kaymer passes on PGA Tour membership
Sunday, January 23, 2011
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – First Lee said no, then Rory, and now Martin has too.
Germany’s Martin Kaymer, the reigning PGA champion, will not take up PGA Tour membership next year.
More good news for the European Tour – as if it needed it.
Kaymer has joined Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy in spurning the chance to take up membership of the PGA Tour. They’re quite happy with the home comforts the European Tour offers them.
Kaymer thought long and hard about taking up PGA Tour membership, but has changed his mind and will stay loyal to the European Tour. He has more reason than most to play in the United States: he has a house in Arizona.
“It really doesn’t fit for me playing both tours next year,” Kaymer said on the eve of the Dubai World Championship. “So I will stick to the European Tour. I will play probably two or three more events in America but I will play in Europe.
“I consider the European Tour my home. That is where I feel comfortable. I think you play against the best players in the world, with the number one in the world, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, you have all of the great players here.”
Westwood has contended for five major championships in the last three years and reached his current position as World No. 1 by staying loyal to the European Tour. That helped him decide on turning down PGA Tour membership.
McIlroy was a PGA Tour member this season, but has cancelled his membership because he wants to spend more time at home.
With European Tour members occupying six of the top ten spots in the official world golf ranking, holding three of the four majors, and winning this year’s Ryder Cup, no wonder European Tour executives can’t hold back the smiles.
“We’re delighted Martin is staying loyal to the European Tour,” said George O’Grady, chief executive of the European Tour. “It’s a tough challenge for everybody on where they play. Everything goes into the cycle of their development as a golfer. We’re not about ‘you must play here.’ We’re about ‘you must do what’s right for your development as a golfer.’”
Of course there are European Tour members joining the PGA Tour this year. Open winner Louis Oosthuizen and US Open winner Graeme McDowell will take up PGA Tour membership next year. Oosthuizen will use next year as an experiment to see if he likes playing in the United States. Compatriot Charl Schwartzel will also become a PGA Tour member in 2011.
They will join the likes of Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia and others who divide their time between the PGA Tour and European Tour.
However, it isn’t the exodus that was predicted when the PGA Tour announced its FedEx Cup series a few years ago.
And that’s nothing but good news for the European Tour in a season of excellent news.