Rory McIlroy’s willingness to give up his European Tour membership has ruffled the feathers of his former Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley.
In a recently penned op-ed for Sky Sports, McGinley called McIlroy’s openness “extraordinary” and questioned the European star’s motivations. McGinley pointed out that, out of the 12 players on Team Europe from this year’s Ryder Cup, McIlroy is the only one who would forfeit his European Tour card by failing to play four European events next year.
McGinley wrote that McIlroy’s potential forfeiture of his Euro Tour card is a choice rather than a result of unintended consequences linked to the shuffling of the PGA Tour schedule.
“The FedExCup finishes in August next year, so you’ve got all of September, October, November and December where the PGA Tour is played in Malaysia, Korea and various other places,” McGinley wrote. “Is Rory going to play in those rather than play in Dubai, where he has had unbelievable success and offers the exact same prize money as those events? Or is he just not going to play at all over the last four months?”
McGinley went on to note that the number of events that players must partake in on the European Tour to maintain their status has already been reduced from five to four, “to make it easy for the guys, like Rory, who are playing a worldwide schedule.”
McIlroy said on Tuesday during his press conference at the DP World Tour Championship that he has had to reshuffle his schedule and may not meet the threshold to maintain his European Tour membership.
“If it were to be that I don’t fulfill my membership,” McIlroy said. “It’s not a Ryder Cup year so it’s not the end of the world. I am always going to want to play the Ryder Cup and I will try and make the team the year later.”
As it stands now, McIlroy’s 2019 schedule runs from February to September and only includes two European Tour events. European Tour bylaws require players to play in at least four events, including their home Open, to maintain membership. Therefore, the Northern Irishman would forfeit his European Tour card.
While McIlroy’s commitment to just two European events is certainly disappointing for fans, it also has larger implications for his career. If he failed to regain his European Tour membership, McIlroy would be prevented from both playing in future Ryder Cups and serving as captain on a Ryder Cup team of his own.
Despite McGinley’s harsh words, McIlroy has not officially forfeited his European Tour card and could add more European Tour events to his schedule in order to maintain his status and remain eligible for future Ryder Cups.