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Paul McGinley has hit out at Rory McIlroy’s suggestion that he might sacrifice his European Tour membership next season.

The four-time major winner revealed on Tuesday that he plans to play only two regular European Tour events from January.

Tour regulations stipulate that he must play four to be eligible for full membership.

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Asked if he would be renewing his membership by reporters in Dubai – where this week’s European Tour season culminates – McIlroy added: “I don’t know.” He has until May to make a decision.

The suggestion that he might abandon the European Tour has been widely criticised on social media and, writing in his latest Sky Sports Golf blog today, 2014 Ryder Cup winning captain Paul McGinley described the suggestion as ‘quite extraordinary’.

Rory Mc Ilroy At Nedbank

“It’s very disappointing and it is obviously a blow for the European Tour,” wrote McGinley. “I’ve been racking my brains wondering how that can be. Obviously Rory sees it in other ways and has got his own rationale for that, although I’m finding it hard to understand.”

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By sacrificing his membership, McIlroy would be putting his Ryder Cup eligibility – and his future captaincy prospects – in jeopardy, but MCGinley doesn’t think his fellow Irishman has considered that.

Rory Mc Ilroy Dubai

“I don’t think Rory is worried about what is going to happen in 20 years, which is what he would be looking at if he was going to become Ryder Cup captain or vice-captain,” he added. “At this moment, he is worried about his golf and focused on what he’s doing in the next 12 months.

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“At the end of the day, these players are sole traders and they make their own decisions. They make their own schedules and whether it be the PGA Tour or the European Tour, it’s very hard to get them to turn up. They will do what they want to do.”


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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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