Tuesday 18 December 2018

McGinley puzzled by McIlroy and Rose Tour snubs

Rory McIlroy. Photo: Getty
Rory McIlroy. Photo: Getty

Brian Keogh

Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood will duke it out for the Race to Dubai but former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley is still shocked by recent scheduling decisions by Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose.

With Rose skipping the season-ending $8 million DP World Tour Championship in Dubai this week and McIlroy threatening not to play the minimum four events required to keep his European Tour membership next year, McGinley finds the self-serving decisions of Europe's top two stars hard to believe.

"It's quite extraordinary that Rory's not going to play just two more events to fulfil his European Tour membership next season," McGinley said in his Sky Sports column.

"It's very disappointing and it is obviously a blow for the European Tour. I've been racking my brains wondering how that can be.

"Obviously, Rory sees it in other ways and has got his own rationale for that, although I'm finding it hard to understand!"

McIlroy has said he's got just two "pure" European Tour events pencilled into his schedule before the end of August with Dubai Duty Free Irish Open host McGinley a potential victim if the Holywood star opts to play the Scottish Open as his warm-up for The Open rather than heading for Lahinch the previous week.

But what McGinley finds even more baffling is McIlroy's threat to stay away from Europe's strong season-ending events too.

"The FedEx Cup finishes in August next year, so you've got all of September, October, November and December where the PGA Tour is played in Malaysia, Korea and various other places," McGinley wrote.

"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? Or is he just not going to play at all over the last four months?"

Shane Lowry, who is 43rd in the Race to Dubai, and 54th-ranked Paul Dunne are not complaining about the absentees as they chase the cash as well as valuable world ranking points.

Dunne must finish second to make the top 30 in the final Race to Dubai standings who qualify for The Open while Lowry, who tied for second on the Earch Course last year, must be solo fourth at worst if he's to tick Royal Portrush off his wish list for Christmas.

McIlroy is chasing a winning end to a frustrating 2018 and that could be a problem for defending champion Fleetwood, who must win at Jumeirah Golf Estates to deny Open champion and Ryder Cup partner Molinari the Race to Dubai title.

Meanwhile, on the PGA Tour, Pádraig Harrington, Seamus Power and Graeme McDowell bring their competitive seasons to an end in The RSM Classic at Sea Island in Georgia.

DP World Championship

Live, Sky Sports, 7.0

The RSM Classic

Live, Sky Sports, 6.0pm

Irish Independent

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