Rory McIlroy has elaborated on his reasons for focussing more on the PGA Tour this season, explaining that the promise of more money and world ranking points makes it more appealing than the European Tour, which he describes as a “stepping stone”.
McIlroy, 29, sparked indignation late last year when he announced that he might sacrifice his European Tour membership this year in order to focus completely on the PGA Tour.
Whilst European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley (pictured below with Rory) appears to have done enough to convince the four-time major winner to resist such a move, he will no doubt be disappointed to read comments made by McIlroy ahead of this week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.
Speaking to Golf Digest, McIlroy said: “Look, you can talk all you want about these bigger events in Europe, but you can go to America and play for more money and more ranking points. I think as well with the world ranking points, everyone out here, all of their contracts with sponsors, it's all about world ranking points. If players are getting paid more and earning more world ranking points, why would you play over there?
“I want to play against the best players in the world. I get a buzz from that. I'd much rather go down the stretch against Justin Thomas or Dustin Johnson. I'm not putting anyone down in Europe but the depths of fields and everything is just that bit better over here. It's what everyone is striving for. It's why Francesco Molinari is here this week. It's where it's heading.”
McIlroy, who lives in America with his American wife, added: “The ultimate goal is here. The European Tour is a stepping stone. That's the truth. That's the way it is.
"It's tough. I still want to support the European Tour, and I talk about this loyalty thing with Europe but it's not as though I'm just starting out and jumping ship. I've done my time. I've done everything I feel like I need to do to say OK, I’m going to make my own decisions and do what I want.”