When Rory McIlroy brought up the possibility that he would play just two European Tour events in addition to the majors and WGCs, and thus surrender his European Tour membership, Paul McGinley was among those who were left scratching their heads.
McGinley, who takes over Irish Open hosting duties from McIlroy next year, penned a column for Sky Sports in which he questioned McIlroy’s commitment to the European Tour.
“It’s quite extraordinary that Rory’s not going to play just two more events to fulfill his European Tour membership next season,” McGinley wrote. “It’s very disappointing and it is obviously a blow for the European Tour. I’ve been racking my brains wondering how that can be. Obviously, Rory sees it in other ways and has got his own rationale for that, although I’m finding it hard to understand.”
The European Tour rules require members to play 12 events. McIlroy, who is expected to play in all four majors and four WGCs next season, would need just four other starts.
McIlroy said Tuesday in Dubai that he likely wouldn’t play a non-major, non-WGC European Tour event until July, and that he could even skip the Irish Open. He’s already committed to play in September’s Omega European Masters, but appears OK with skipping the rest of the European Tour season, even if the revamped PGA Tour season ends in August.
“Is Rory going to play in those (PGA Tour fall events) rather than play in Dubai, where he has had unbelievable success and offers the exact same prize money as those events?” McGinley wrote. “Or is he just not going to play at all over the last four months?”
McGinley, who won three Ryder Cups as a player before captaining the 2014 European team (which McIlroy was on) to victory at Gleneagles, also brought a new European Tour rule requiring future Ryder Cup captains to have never forfeited their membership on the European Tour.
“I don’t think Rory is worried about what is going to happen in 20 years, which is what he would be looking at if he was going to become Ryder Cup captain or vice-captain,” McGinley wrote. “At this moment, he is worried about his golf and focused on what he’s doing in the next 12 months.”