Rory McIlroy could lose Euro Tour membership – and possibly more – in '19

Aug 5, 2018; Akron, OH, USA; PGA golfer Rory McIlroy walks the 16th hole during the final round of the WGC - Bridgestone Invitational golf tournament at Firestone Country Club - South Course. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Rory McIlroy could lose Euro Tour membership – and possibly more – in '19

Euro Tour

Rory McIlroy could lose Euro Tour membership – and possibly more – in '19

Rory McIlroy could relinquish European Tour membership in 2019.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday in Dubai, where McIlroy will tee it up in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, McIlroy said he doesn’t plan to play a non-major, non-WGC European Tour event until July, the result of changes to both the PGA and European tour schedules.

Assuming he plays in all four majors and the three remaining WGC events in 2019, McIlroy will need to play four more times on the European Tour to keep membership.

As of now, McIlroy is only committed to play the Omega European Masters in August, the week after the PGA Tour’s finale, the Tour Championship at East Lake. He also is expected to play at least one of the lead-up events to the British Open, either in Ireland or Scotland. Both events run parallel to new PGA Tour stops in Detroit and Minneapolis, with McIlroy unlikely to play either.

He won’t play in Abu Dhabi or Dubai to kick off the new year like he did in 2018, though.

“I don’t have to commit to anything until May, so I will not have played a European Tour event,” McIlroy said. “I will play the WGCs and majors and events like that, but the true European Tour season does not start until July. The way the schedule has worked for next year, it is going to be different for a lot of guys. Everything is going to be so condensed between March and August, and that is why I am taking a big offseason to get myself ready … then go at it hard from March all the way through to basically the end of the season.”

There is still the possibility of McIlroy fulfilling his membership. The BMW PGA Championship, the European Tour’s flagship event, is played in September next year. And should he play well in the majors or WGCs, he could have enough Race to Dubai points to qualify for the final three events in Turkey, South Africa and Dubai.

Assuming he plays twice before September and then adds the BMW PGA, McIlroy would need just one more event to keep his membership. That might be too easy to pass up, especially considering the future implications of giving up membership.

McIlroy isn’t concerned right now with losing membership because it isn’t a Ryder Cup year.

“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,” McIlroy said. “I am always going to want to play the Ryder Cup and I will try and make the team the year later.”

However, there is a new rule that prohibits a player from being a European Ryder Cup captain or assistant captain if they decline membership or fail to meet the minimum start requirements in any season.

If McIlroy wants to be a Ryder Cup captain one day, he might change his mind. But for now, he’s planning to spend a lot more time in the U.S. He’ll begin his year in Kapalua for the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

“I guess my thing is that I want to play against the strongest fields week in and week out, and for the most part of the season that is in America,” McIlroy said. “If I want to continue to contend in the majors and to continue my journey back towards the top of the game, then that’s what I want to do.”

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