Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)

The Loop

Musical tours: Kaymer staying, Oosthuizen going

November 23, 2010

The European media trumpeted the news that Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy was forgoing his PGA Tour membership to play in Europe next year and that England's Lee Westwood was staying put in Europe. It wasn't the PGA Tour's apocalypse, necessarily, but surely was a sign of its diminishing influence.

But was it even that? Was it anything more than a pair of players wishing to play closer to home more often?

Germany's Martin Kaymer this week also has decided to remain in Europe, news that was partially offset by the fact that the British Open champion, Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa has declared his intention to join the PGA Tour. So has his countryman Charl Schwartzel, a winner of five European Tour events.

Earlier, U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell said he will join the PGA Tour in 2011 (while retaining his European Tour membership), and England's Ian Poulter, who won the UBS Hong Kong Open on Sunday, said he will stay in America (he has a home in Orlando) and play the PGA Tour in 2011.

Does it mean anything? Whether he's a member of the PGA Tour or not, an elite player will play three major championships, three World Golf Championship events, and the Players Championship in the U.S., while probably throwing in a few other events, usually in advance of a major or WGC.

It doesn't qualify as a full schedule (15 events are required for PGA Tour membership), but it's close enough to suggest that this is much ado about nothing.

-- John Strege