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Focusing on PGA Tour, McIlroy may forfeit Euro Tour membership in '19

15 November 2018

'I'm always going to want to play in the Ryder Cup, so if I give up my membership, I'll rejoin in 2020 and try to make the team that way'.

To be fair to McIlroy, the golf calendar is undergoing a significant shift next year which is positively encouraging the superstars to spend more time in America.

"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. I know it's not going to be easy, and I'm not making any assumptions, but I'll do my best on the course to do the job", he said. Most of this is simply the fallout from a completely revamped European Tour schedule, which was an answer to a sort-of revamped PGA Tour schedule for the 2018-19 season.

McIlroy needs to play four European Tour tournaments outside the majors and World Golf Championship events, but now only has two on his schedule and could even miss the Irish Open, an event he has hosted for the last four years.

And there would be no issue if McIlroy were to stick to his almost-annual plan of playing two events in the Middle East - Abu Dhabi and Dubai - in the early part of the year.

This is the last event of the season, the conclusion of the Race to Dubai series, and the last chance that fans of the Tour will get to see the best the continent has to offer in action in 2018. I am starting my year off in the USA [ in Hawaii in January] and that Tour will be the big focus of mine up until the end of August and then we will assess from there.

McIlroy made his Irish Open debut as a then amateur in 2005 and has contested the event ever year since 2008.

Shane Lowry, who is 43rd in the Race to Dubai, and 54th-ranked Paul Dunne are not complaining about the absentees as they chase the cash as well as valuable world ranking points.

With the PGA Championship moving to May in the U.S., Europe's answer was to push the majority of its big events into the fall. "There were a few too many wayward tee shots probably, but I fought hard. I think all of a sudden it's came down to just us two that can win it, and those are the only two scenarios", said Fleetwood on Tuesday.

Both the European Tour and PGA Tour have undergone big changes to their schedules for next year, while the major season has been condensed into just four months following the PGA Championship's move to May, while the Players Championship moves to March.

The more interesting part for me is that with McIlroy now skipping the Middle East swing and focusing exclusively on the PGA Tour from January-August, you sort of have the makings of an unofficial world tour.

Focusing on PGA Tour, McIlroy may forfeit Euro Tour membership in '19