DUBAI – (Wire Service Report) – Rory McIlroy will concentrate on the PGA Tour in 2019, meaning he could wind up relinquishing his European Tour membership for the year.
McIlroy spoke to reporters Tuesday in Dubai, where he will play in the DP World Tour Championship. He said that because of changes to both the PGA and European tour schedules, he might fall short of tournaments required on the European Tour to keep his membership.
He said he doesn’t plan to play in a non-major, non-WGC European Tour event until at least July.
The 29-year-old has committed to play the Omega European Masters in August and is expected to play one of the events leading up to The Open Championship, either in Scotland or Ireland.
“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.”
The BMW PGA Championship, the European Tour’s main event, is in September. He could wind up having enough Race to Dubai points to qualify for the final three events on the tour and complete his European Tour commitment.
Not completing his tour obligations wouldn’t affect the Northern Ireland native’s Ryder Cup standing for 2020.
“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.”
Not playing a full European Tour schedule, however, could keep him from being a European Ryder Cup captain or assistant captain in the future because of a rule that will prohibit players from doing so if they drop off the European Tour or fail to meet the minimum start requirements in any season.
For now, this is McElroy’s leaning.
“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.”
–Field Level Media