AAP Golf

McGinley questions McIlroy’s schedule

By AAP Newswire

Former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley admits he's baffled by the prospect of Rory McIlroy playing just two European Tour events next season.

World No.7 McIlroy, who needs to play four European Tour tournaments outside the majors and World Golf Championship events to be a Tour member, has only two on his schedule and could even miss the Irish Open, an event he's hosted for the past four years.

McGinley, who's succeeded McIlroy as host of the Irish Open at Lahinch in 2019, wrote in a column for Sky: "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.

"Of the 12 players that represented Europe in the Ryder Cup this year, Rory is the only one who is going to do that and the others have all signed up to play the minimum of four events outside of the majors and WGCs.

"The FedEx Cup 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.

"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?

"We've already reduced the number of events players have to play on the European Tour from five down to four, just to make it easy for the guys, like Rory, who are playing a worldwide schedule. It is right at the very minimum at the moment and the European Tour don't feel that four is huge task to meet."

If McIlroy does indeed give up his membership in 2019 he would be able to rejoin the European Tour in order to be eligible for the 2020 Ryder Cup although a regulation introduced in January 2017 would prevent him being a captain or vice-captain in the biennial contest.

"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 said.

"At this moment, he is worried about his golf and focused on what he's doing in the next 12 months.

"At the end of the day, these players are sole traders and they make their own decisions. They make their own schedules and whether it be the PGA Tour or the European Tour, it's very hard to get them to turn up. They will do what they want to do."