ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Rory McIlroy’s deliberation over joining the PGA Tour is a no brainer to me.
He has to join.
McIlroy says he is going to give “serious thought” to playing more in the U.S. over the next two months.
“I’m in no rush, but the opportunity may not be there forever,” the 20-year-old Northern Irish star said.
Since the majors and world championship events count toward both tours, McIlroy doesn’t have to add much to his schedule on both sides of the pond to make up the minimum of 15 he needs to play in the U.S. and 12 he needs for Europe.
In fact, he would only have to add three extra PGA Tour events to those he played this year.
Most importantly, joining the PGA Tour would help him in his quest for major glory.
He should learn from fellow stablemates Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood. They have remained loyal to the European Tour and I think that has hampered their chances of major success, especially in the U.S.
Westwood’s third place finish in last year’s U.S. Open was the only time the Englishman truly threatened to win a U.S. major (he also finished T-3 at the British Open in July). Clarke, meanwhile, has never really been a factor in any U.S. major.
Colin Montgomerie is another who perhaps spoiled his chances of winning in the U.S. by staying in Europe.
All three have reaped the rewards – in prize money, appearance money and endorsements – that have gone with being big fish in a smaller pond. However, major trophies, not bank balances, measure true golfing success. Besides, the more majors you have then the bigger your bank balance.
Playing more in the U.S. would help McIlroy in the majors. Conditions in the U.S. are vastly different from Europe. Competing more often on the PGA Tour would make him more comfortable in the U.S. marquee events.
He is also a huge hit with U.S. fans, so it wouldn’t hurt his earnings either. Sponsors would be foolish not to try to land the affable McIlroy.
However, major success is all-important. As Westwood, Clarke and Montgomerie have shown, staying at home isn’t the key to major success.
It’s a no brainer – go west young man.