Golf's major championship schedule makes Rory McIlroy fear for casual fans

Ng Han Guan/AP

Golf's major championship schedule makes Rory McIlroy fear for casual fans

Euro Tour

Golf's major championship schedule makes Rory McIlroy fear for casual fans

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Rory McIlroy has reiterated fears that casual golf fans may be turned off the game because the major championships are crammed too tightly together.

McIlroy first voiced this fear during this year’s Omega European Masters, and expanded upon it on the eve of the $8 million DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

Major Championship golf now ends in July at the conclusion of the Open Championship. The majors previously wound up in August, but that changed this year with the PGA Championship from its traditional August date to May to avoid a clash with the FedEx Cup.

“I’d love to see the major schedule just spread out a little bit just so, you know, casual fans of the game are a little more interested in golf, not just for five or six months of the year but maybe nine or ten months of the year,” McIlroy said. “Especially with the way the game is going in terms of how important majors are and how much emphasis everyone puts on them.

More: McIlroy chasing five-win season, not Race to Dubai title

“The game of golf, if it’s emphasized only for that narrow window, does that make everything else irrelevant? The scary thing is hopefully people do take an interest in golf more than just those five months a year.”

McIlroy isn’t alone in wanting to see the majors spread out more. Justin Rose is also a critic of the short major championship window. It means players have to cram in more events into a shorter time frame.

Four-time major champion McIlroy has played 52 tournaments over the last two years, the most he’s played since his rookie year of 2008.

“If you want to try to be competitive on both sides of the pond, you have to play quite a bit,” he added. “You know, it’s (his schedule) condensed. It’s sort of fast and furious. I feel like you try to do the bulk of your work December, January, February time. There’s not much time between tournaments once you get to March time to all the way through. It’s not as if you can take two or three weeks off to work on your game and change something. It’s whatever you have for the season, that’s what you have to go with.”

McIlroy hasn’t decided how many events he’ll play next year, a year in which the Olympic Games in Tokyo adds another event to his calendar. “So 27 last year, 25 this year, I think the sweet spot for me is around 23 or 24.  I think that’s a good number of events to play.”

This week’s DP World Tour Championship, Dubai is McIlroy’s last event before he tees it up at the end of January at Torrey Pines in the Farmers Insurance Open. He’ll use the down time to try to map out his 2020 campaign.

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