Sam Torrance has made more appearances than any other golfer in the history of the European Tour – but he believes Rory McIlroy is making the right decision in prioritising rival circuit the PGA Tour this year.
McIlroy was widely criticised for suggesting that he might sacrifice his European Tour membership in order to fully focus on playing on the opposite side of the Atlantic over the coming season.
Whilst it now appears likely that the four-time major winner will play the minimum number of events to fulfil his membership obligations, he again courted controversy last week when he described the European Tour as a “stepping stone” to the PGA Tour.
However, Torrance – who has played a record 702 times on the European Tour – reckons the criticism of McIlroy is wide of the mark.
Writing inCity AM, Torrance said: “He has to focus on what’s best for his career, so this could be exactly what he needs.
“I think it’s the right move and it could prove to be a significant one. It will allow him to spend more time with his family and less time travelling.
“Being on tour is enjoyable most of the time, but it does take its toll and as you get older you need to juggle more considerations.
“Happiness is a big factor in playing successful golf. You only need to look at the example of Sergio Garcia: he got married, had a child and won a first Masters title all in quick succession.
“Let’s hope this decision can be the turning point for McIlroy. He’s been trying to support the European Tour, which been a big part of his life, but it’s time to move on.”