Rory McIlroy says the European Tour is a stepping stone to playing on the PGA Tour

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Rory McIlroy is making his first appearance of 2019 at the Sentry Tournament of Champions event in Hawaii

Rory McIlroy has described the European Tour as “a stepping stone” and has reiterated his intention to concentrate on the PGA Tour in 2019.

The four-time major winner is competing at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii this week as part of his increased focus on US tournaments.

The 29-year-old wants to reduce his European Tour commitments in an effort to add to his major titles.

“My life’s here. I have an American wife. I live in America,” said McIlroy.

“Honestly, I enjoy it here more. The way of life is easier. The weather. The convenience,” he added.

The Northern Irishman has so far only committed to playing two events on his home tour this season, and needs to play a minimum of four tournaments outside of the majors and the World Golf Championships to retain his European Tour membership.

“The ultimate goal is here [the US]. 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.

“It’s tough. I still want to support the European Tour, and I talk about this loyalty thing with Europe. [But] it’s not as though I’m just starting out and jumping ship.

“I’ve done my time. I’ve done everything I feel like I need to do to say OK, I’m going to make my own decisions and do what I want.”

A long-time supporter of the European Tour, McIlroy could still add a further two European tournaments to his 2019 schedule but admits the PGA Tour offers much greater incentives for the world’s top players: “It’s so one-sided. You can talk all you want about these bigger events in Europe, but you can go to America and play for more money and more ranking points.

“I think as well with the world ranking points, everyone out here, all of their contracts with sponsors, it’s all about world ranking points. If players are getting paid more and earning more world ranking points, why would you play over there?”

McIlroy is paired with Xander Schauffele for the opening round of the Tournament of Champions event at the Kapalua Resort.



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