The world’s ninth-ranked golfer, Rory McIlroy decided he will not join the PGA Tour next year, USA Today reports. He is the third top-10 golfer to eschew a PGA Tour card and pursue the European Tour.World No. 1 Lee Westwood (England) and No. 3 Martin Kramyer (Germany) both said they wouldn’t compete on the PGA Tour next year, too. In fact, Westwood hasn’t competed full-time on the PGA Tour since 2005.
Though all three are exempt from the Tour’s 15 event minimum required of its members – as winners of Tour events, each holds some exemption through at least 2012 – European golfers feel burdened by the constant appearances necessary to maintain complete membership status. They prefer to compete on the European Tour, especially when they can still come to America for the majors.
No. 14 Francesco Molinari, winner of the recent HSBC Championship, also has no intention to ditch the European Tour for the PGA despite the three-year exemption the win afforded him.
It’s an alarming trend considering seven of the world’s top 10 golfers are European. The popularity of the European Tour among these players threatens the competitiveness of the non-major PGA Tour events and could render it obsolete on an international scale.
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