Molinari retains control in Race to Dubai

Doug Mendoza
November 15, 2018

It is good for the European Tour because they have events to shine.

Based on their respective performances at the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship this year, Arccos was able to upload the performance statistics of the two players and simulate how they would perform on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai.

A new European Tour rule introduced past year states: "Players can not be a European Ryder Cup captain or a vice-captain if they decline membership of the European Tour or fail to fulfil their minimum event obligation in any season, from 2018 onwards".

"Is Rory going to play in those rather than play in Dubai, where he has had unbelievable success and offers the exact same prize money as those events?"

To be fair to McIlroy, the golf calendar is undergoing a significant shift next year which is positively encouraging the superstars to spend more time in America. I will play the WGCs and majors and events like that, but the true European Tour season does not start until July.

The PGA Tour schedule has changed in 2019, with the PGA Championship moving to May and the FedEx Cup playoffs concluding in August, just five weeks after The Open. "Right now I've got two events on my schedule in Europe".

"I am starting my year off in Hawaii and that will be the big focus of mine up until the end of August and then we will access from there", said McIlroy. "If I want to continue to contend in the majors and to continue my journey back toward the top of the game, then that's what I want to do".

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Francesco Molinari missed two par putts from less than two feet in his opening round of the World Tour Championship on Thursday to give Tommy Fleetwood a sliver of a chance of keeping the European Tour season title.

"I don't think Rory is anxious about what is going to happen in 20 years, which is what he would be looking at if he was going to become Ryder Cup captain or vice-captain". I think it doesn't matter how much you achieve.

With an off-season of that length, no wonder there were some in Dubai who looked at the idea that he couldn't find a measly four events to retain his membership as something of an abject betrayal.

As a PGA Tour member, McIlroy is required to play 15 tournaments, and aside from the four major championships, he'll have plenty of choices, especially when the schedule is extremely busy in late February up until the Masters.

'Since May it's all been going very fast and very quickly and so many things happening one after the other, that I haven't had time really to sit down and think through what's happened in the last few months, ' Molinari said in Dubai yesterday.

The more interesting part for me is that with McIlroy now skipping the Middle East swing and focusing exclusively on the PGA Tour from January-August, you sort of have the makings of an unofficial world tour.

Other reports by GizPress

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