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McIlroy unsure of keeping his European Tour membership

The four-time major champion will focus on the PGA Tour in 2019, but absence from the European Tour would prevent him from ever being Ryder Cup captain or vice-captain.

McIlroy at this year's Ryder Cup.
McIlroy at this year's Ryder Cup.
Image: David Davies/PA Wire/PA Images

RORY MCILROY IS unsure of maintaining his European Tour membership for 2019 as he currently has just two events on his schedule.

Players are required to enter four European Tour events in a season to remain a member, but McIlroy does not appear concerned, revealing his ambition to take on the stronger fields of the PGA Tour.

The four-time major champion added that this lighter schedule was in part due to there being no Ryder Cup next year, meaning he would not be required to qualify.

“I don’t know,” McIlroy told BBC Sport when asked about keeping his membership. “Right now, I’ve got two events on my schedule in Europe.

“I don’t have to commit to that until next year, so I’m starting my year off in the States. That’ll be the big focus of mine up until the end of August and then, obviously, we will assess from there.

I’ve got a couple of pure European Tour events on my schedule up to the end of August. I guess my big thing is I want to play against the strongest fields week in, week out, and for the most part of the season, that is in America.

“And if I want to continue to contend in the majors and continue my journey back towards the top of the game, that’s what I want to do.”

He continued: “Right now that’s all up in the air. But if it were to be that I don’t fulfil my membership next year, it is not a Ryder Cup year so it is not the end of the world.

“I’m always going to want to play the Ryder Cup, so if that does happen, so be it, and I try to make the Ryder Cup team the year after. It is a big shift but I think it is good for a lot of reasons.”

McIlroy’s absence from the European Tour would see him give up the opportunity to captain Europe at the Ryder Cup in the future, with the role – and that of the vice-captains — requiring players to secure membership in every season.

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