Ahead of this week's Tournament of Champions, McIlroy discussed his decision to prioritize the PGA Tour.

By Daniel Rapaport
January 02, 2019

As far as Europeans go, Rory McIlroy is about as American-ized as they come. 

McIlroy is married to an American woman, Erica Stoll. His primary residence is in Florida. He's a fan of American sports. But when it comes to golf, he's been trying to maintain both an American and European presence, so to speak. 

It now appears that will change. 

McIlroy, 29, said ahead of this week's Sentry Tournament of Champions that he plans to focus on his life in America. That means he'll play more often on the PGA Tour—and, as a result, less on the European Tour—and compete the week before each major, in an effort to feel sharper as he chases his fifth major title. 

Was it a tough call?

Sentry Tournament of Champions Preview

"Easy,” he told Golf Digest. “My life’s here [in the U.S.]. I have an American wife. I live in America. Honestly, I enjoy it here more. The way of life is easier. The weather. The convenience.”

McIlroy, who has 14 PGA Tour wins and 13 on the European Tour, suggested he won't play a tournament in Europe until July, when he'll make the trip to prepare for the Open Championship, which is being played in his home country of Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951. 

"The ultimate goal is here," McIlroy said, pointing out the PGA Tour's higher prize money and world ranking incentives. "The European Tour is a stepping stone. That's the truth. The European Tour is a stepping stone. That's the way it is," he said.

McIlroy is currently committed to only two European Tour events; he'd need to add at least two more to satisfy the Tour's requirement of at least four non-major, non-World Golf Championship events. If he does not add two, he would forfeit his European Tour membership, which he has maintained since 2007.

He's not the only European making this type of move. Francesco Molinari, winner of last year's Open Championship, recently said he will focus more on the PGA Tour and also hinted he might not play in Europe until the summer. 

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