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Saturday 19
January

Golf

McIlroy defends decision to move away from 'stepping stone' European Tour

2nd January 2019, 13:35 by Neil Foster

Rory McIlroy has described the European Tour as a "stepping stone" and looks set to play the majority of his golf in the USA.

The 29-year-old expressed a desire to give up membership of the European Tour in 2019 to focus on America and the quest to add another major to his collection of four.

He was persuaded otherwise by European golf chief Keith Pelley and it seems as though the Northern Irishman will play the requisite number of tournaments to keep his European Tour card.

However, as he prepares to feature in the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii this week, McIlroy has further distanced himself from his Ryder Cup team-mates with less-than-complimentary words about golf on this side of the Atlantic.

"My life's here. I have an American wife. I live in America," he said. "Honestly, I enjoy it here more. The way of life is easier. The weather. The convenience.

"The ultimate goal is here [the US]. The European Tour is a stepping stone. That's the truth. The European Tour is a stepping stone. That's the way it is."

The world number eight has been a loyal supporter of the European Tour since becoming a professional in 2007 but feels it is a no-brainer for any player to want to ply their trade on the PGA Tour.

"It's so one-sided," he added. "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?"

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Neil Foster is an experienced journalist who specialises in cricket and rugby union. Neil also has a solid knowledge of tennis, golf and football.

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