Rory McIlroy hands European Tour a boost by signing up for 2019

Four-time Major champion Rory McIlroy has ended a stand-off between himself and the European Tour by re-joining in time to earn Ryder Cup points when qualification begins in September – and is now likely to tee it up in Dubai at the DP World Tour Championship.

The news will be welcomed by Ryder Cup Captain Padraig Harrington, who earlier this month announced he would only have three wildcard selections for the Matches next year.

McIlroy said in January: “I’ve done my time – the European Tour is a stepping stone. That’s the way it is.”

But he will now tee it up in at least four European Tour events this season in order to fulfil his membership requirements.

He had previously confirmed to play in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open, held the week before The Open in July, and the Omega European Masters in August.

Huge Boost

It is now believed he will play in the BMW PGA Championship in September, and the fourth event he needs to play to retain his membership is rumoured to be the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, which will come as a huge boost to an event he has won on two previous occasions.

Rory McIlroy, pictured with European Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley, wins the 2015 DP World Tour Championship.

Sixth successive Ryder Cup

McIlroy would have definitely rejoined in 2020 to ensure that he could play in his sixth successive Ryder Cup at Whisting Straits. But had he not performed his u-turn to join the tour at this point of the campaign, none of his future results this year would have counted in the qualification process, and this issue would have been a concern for Harrington.

“I have said on many occasions that one of the reasons for recent European success in the Ryder Cup is continuity,” said Harrington. “It is a theme that will be prevalent across my captaincy.

“Having said that, I am pleased that the tournament committee agreed to the change of wild-card numbers. I have spoken to a number of people regarding the ninth player automatically qualifying for the team and, in my experience, a player is more comfortable when he has qualified, hence my reasoning behind this change.” – Padraig Harrington

“I am also delighted to be starting and ending the process at the BMW PGA Championship. It is one of our most prestigious events, played at an iconic venue and the home of the European Tour itself and will help give a real narrative to the qualification race.”

Had McIlroy decided not to accept membership on the Tour this year, he could have risked his ability to become a future Ryder Cup Captain  as the current rules state that future vice captains and captains must remain European Tour members for all years that they are eligible.

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