Rory McIlroy’s decision to focus more in the US from the first week of next year will come a big blow to the European Tour.
Indeed, McIlroy may not compete on the European Tour until the first week of July in contesting the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Lahinch.
McIlroy had been asked following his second round at the Tour Championship in Atlanta if he would be playing out in the Middle East and his answer pretty much indicated he will not.
“No, probably not,” he said.
If correct, it will be the first time in his pro career McIlroy will not be heading to the Middle East and where, and apart of one season, he has elected always to commence a New Year.
Instead, McIlroy indicated he will be travelling to Hawaii for a first time to tee-up in the January 3rd starting Sentry Tournament of Champions.
“The Sentry is a meaningful tournament to qualify for, because you have to win to get in, and winning is not easy on the PGA Tour,” said McIlroy.
“I qualifying in winning the Arnold Palmer and I can’t wait to get out to Maui in January and experience the Plantation Course and everything the island has to offer.”
And also in lieu of being based in Dubai ahead of the back-to-back Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and the Dubai Desert Classic, and where in 2009 he captured the first of now 23 pro victories around the globe, McIlroy will be Stateside.
Clashing with the 2019 Dubai Desert Classic will be the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open and with McIlroy almost certain to tee-up on the clifftop course overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
The earliest McIlroy has begun a new season on the PGA Tour was this year in teeing-up early February, and for a first time this year in his career, at the AT & T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
McIlroy has regularly contested the WGC – Match-Play Championship including when staged in Arizona but as for a regular PGA Tour he has not been seen Stateside before joining the field for the usual February commencing Honda Classic.