Rory McIlroy hinted last month that the 2019 season was going to be all about him and his golf, other distractions be damned.
While no one begrudges Rory for that type of tunnel-vision, his insinuation that his pursuit of more major championships and the top ranking in the world could mean the forfeiture of his European Tour card made waves at the Tour headquarters in London.
According to a report from Golfweek.com’s The Forecaddie, McIlroy’s wondering aloud if a jumbled up schedule could cost him his European Tour card in 2019 caused swift action from the Tour’s CEO, Keith Pelley.
“For the most part of the season, (the best fields are) in America,” McIlroy said in November at the year-end DP World Tour Championship, Dubai. “Right now, that is all sort of up in the air, but if it were to be that I don’t fulfill my (European Tour) membership next year, it’s not a Ryder Cup year, so it’s not the end of the world. I am always going to want to play the Ryder Cup, so if that does happen, so be it, and I will try and make the Ryder Cup team the year after.
“Everyone has to look out for themselves. And next year, I’m looking out for me.”
As a result of McIlroy’s comments, Pelley chartered a plane and headed to Belfast, Northern Ireland to have an emergency meeting with the Tour’s main attraction.
In order for McIlroy to retain his European Tour membership, the circuit requires that he play just four events outside of the major championships and the World Golf Championships. The schedule was as such, McIlroy rebutted at the time, that he only felt comfortable committing to two “regular” European Tour events — the European Masters and the Scottish Open in the lead-up to the Open Championship.
After the summit with Pelley, The Mirror reported that McIlroy is ready to put his name on the field list at two other events, thus doing enough to retain his card with the early-season Dubai Desert Classic and the mid-season Irish Open.
McIlroy has already committed to starting his 2019 campaign on Maui in next week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions for the first time.
2019 is shaping up to be a busy year for McIlroy.