Rory McIlroy has brushed-off criticism following a likely decision not to take-up 2019 European Tour membership.
McIlroy hinted earlier this week he would likely contest just two ‘pure’ 2019 European Tour events up to July’s Open Championship and need not be a European Tour member in what will be a non-Ryder Cup year.
It could see McIlroy also choosing to not tee-up in his ‘home’ Irish Open and instead contest the following week’s Scottish Open, a move sure to irk his huge Irish fan base and Irish Open sponsors.
McIlroy was quizzed about the growing concern following his round of a three-under par 69 on the opening day of the DP World Tour Championship at the Jumeirah Estates course in Dubai. It was a somewhat ‘testing’ post-round interview with McIlroy being first asked if he was aware of the future Ryder Cup captaincy regulations if he should not take-up Tour membership.
“It’s 20 years away,” he said. Then when it was suggested that it could be an issue that may ‘crop up’ in his career, McIlroy remained somewhat defiant.
“It’s 20 years away,” he repeated.
However, the current World No. 7 admitted he had spoken to European Tour CEO Keith Pelley about his decision.
“I had a chat with Keith Friday at Sun City, and told him what my plans were for next year, yeah,” he said.
“Look, everyone has to look out for themselves and next year I’m looking out for me. At the same time, I don’t have to make a decision on it. I didn’t say that it was a definite. It’s up in the air. I don’t have to make a decision till May. We’ll see how it goes.”
And then asked if he was surprised at some of the reaction, including McGinley’s comments appearing in his SKY Sports column, McIlroy responded: “Again, everyone looks out for themselves. McGinley is on The European Tour board. He’s involved and he has to protect what he has, and I get it.”
“Again, look, everyone has to do what’s best for them, and for me next year, I’m trying to do what’s best for me to help get back to the best player in the world and try to win majors again.”
“Geez, I’d cause all the stirs in the world if I go back to winning majors.”