Rory McIlroy reverses course, to keep European Tour membership after all in 2019
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In November Rory McIlroy threw a curveball at Keith Pelley and company, stating in Dubai that he planned on spending most of the 2019 season in the United States. McIlroy explained that he wanted to play the best competition on a weekly basis. “For the most part of the season, that is in America,” McIlroy said. When pressed if that meant the four-time major winner would be relinquishing his European Tour membership, McIlroy responded in the affirmative. “Everyone has to look out for themselves,” said McIlroy. “And next year, I’m looking out for me.”
McIlroy's comments reportedly caused panic at Wentworth, with Euro Tour honchoes aghast the face of their tour would so nonchalantly brush off their circuit without second thought. Pelley, CEO of the European Tour since 2015, made an emergency flight to Belfast, pleading with McIlroy to reconsider.
It appears that petition has been heard.
The Irish Mirror reports that the Ulsterman has committed to Pelley and the Euro Tour, and is expected to make the minimum amount of starts overseas next season to keep his European Tour membership.
Under the new revamped PGA Tour schedule, McIlroy was not scheduled to make a European Tour appearance until July. Now McIlroy is considering adding a trip to Dubai, along with an outing at the Irish Open (Rory has been the tournament host for the past four years but will not hold the responsibility in 2019) or the BMW PGA Championship. In November, McIlroy had stated he had only planned on playing the Scottish Open (which serves as a warm-up to the Open Championship for many players) and the Omega European Masters.
McIlroy, who turns 30 in May, is ramping up his PGA Tour schedule in 2019 to prepare for the Masters, the only major he needs to complete the career Grand Slam. He is set to make his next start at Kapulua, which will be his first career appearance at the Tournament of Champions, in the beginning of January.