Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Rory McIlroy says no to US tour

Rory McIlroy showed enough on his Masters debut at Augusta to prove that one day he can be a champion there
Rory McIlroy showed enough on his Masters debut at Augusta to prove that one day he can be a champion there

Rory McIlroy has formally turned down a golden opportunity to become a full member of the US PGA Tour.

McIlroy was approached by the US PGA Tour with the offer of ‘Special Temporary’ membership, which is customary Tour practice once a player earns a certain amount in a season.

When he arrives home early next week from South Carolina, where he is competing in the Verizon Heritage in Hilton Head, McIlroy will decline the offer.

‘Special Temporary’ membership becomes automatically available to non-US Tour competitors once they have earned more in a year than the 150th placed player on the money list the previous year.

Last year that player was former British Open champion Todd Hamilton, who banked $537,958.

England’s Ross Fisher has applied and been accepted under the ‘Special Temporary’ membership category given that he has amassed $588,575, with $490,000 of that earned in finishing a beaten semi-finalist in the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship.

Other Europeans to accept ‘Special Temporary’ membership this year include Ryder Cup star Oliver Wilson and India’s Jeev Milka Singh.

McIlroy arrived in Hilton Head having earned $526,093 from his five events in the States, with his best being a cheque for $270,000 for finishing in a tie for fifth in the Match Play Championship.

It means that once McIlroy earns the $11,865 that is the difference between what he’s earned this year and the sum Hamilton banked last year, he's fully eligible for ‘Special Temporary’ member status.

And after discussing the issue with 2008 US Masters champion Trevor Immelman, McIlroy has now confirmed he has declined the offer after carding an opening-round one-over-par 72 on the Harbour Town course.

“I am only going to play 11 events over here this year so I don’t need any extra invites to compete,” said McIlroy.

“I’ve thought about taking out full membership but that would mean adding another four events over here which would be quite difficult.

“So it’s a lot of golf on top of what I need to play in Europe so I’ll put that idea on hold for the time being.”

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