McIlroy unsure of 2019 European Tour membership

Rory Mc Ilroy plays a shot from the bushes during his third round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge

Rory Mc Ilroy plays a shot from the bushes during his third round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge

McIlroy only intends to play two full-field European Tour events in the first half of 2019 and has made the decision as it is not a Ryder Cup year - he insisted he would not have done the same thing if it was.

"I've got a couple of pure European Tour events on my schedule up to the end of August".

'Hopefully I'll be able to do the job this week and then sit down next week and start reflecting and digest everything that's happened before starting to prepare for next year'. "I think I didn't go for any par 5s in two, but I was accurate with the third shot, so I left myself lots of birdie chances and I was able to make them", said the Spaniard after making birdies on all four par-5 holes.

The minimum requirement to maintain membership is four European Tour sanctioned tournaments outside the Major Championships and World Golf Championships.

The European Tour's Race to Dubai will be contested by two men who have enjoyed phenomenal seasons in both individual and team golf, but as Matthew Crist explains, it's not all about "Moliwood" at the DP Tour Championship.

"Right now, I've got two events on my schedule in Europe and I don't have to commit to that until next year", he said. Under a regulation drawn up a year ago, that would bar him from becoming a Europe vice-captain or captain in the future. 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. I would have never guessed that I would be here in this position if you told me in April or May this year, but it's been an incredible summer, topped by an unbelievable Ryder Cup.

Rory McIlroy is considering turning his back on the European Tour next year, even though it could cost him the chance ever to be Ryder Cup captain.

McIlroy will skip the new Rolex event in Abu Dhabi and Dubai Classic in early 2019.

Using the example of Lee Westwood's impressive win at the Nedbank Championship last weekend, Willett said golfers are always waiting for the days when their game magically clicks together.

Rahm edged out Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Irishman Shane Lowry by one stroke a year ago to emerge victorious in the $8 million season-ending event, capping a sensational debut season on the European Tour that also saw him win the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. His absence would be a massive blow for the European Tour, as he'd be ineligible for the season-long Race to Dubai. It is good for the European Tour because they have events to shine.

Italian Francesco Molinari remained on course to win his first Race to Dubai title after finishing the opening round of the DP World Tour Championship a shot better than rival Tommy Fleetwood. That has pushed the European Tour's flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, to September and McIlroy warned that he might not be the only high-profile name to make the move.

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