The European Tour has today announced that, due to the exceptional circumstances caused by his injury and the impact this has had on his playing schedule, Rory McIlroy has been granted approval by Chief Executive Keith Pelley to remain in the final 2015 Race to Dubai Rankings and be automatically eligible to compete in The Final Series, despite not meeting the minimum event requirements.
McIlroy, who claimed The Race to Dubai crown in 2014 and is currently leading the 2015 rankings, was poised to comfortably meet the ‘13 tournaments per season’ rule – stipulated under the membership criteria of The European Tour – until an accident ruled him out of a considerable part of the golfing summer.
The 26 year old Northern Irishman was playing football with friends in July when he went over on his left ankle, the resulting ligament damage causing him to miss his scheduled European Tour appearances in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, the Open Championship and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
As a result McIlroy, who has so far played nine tournaments on The 2015 European Tour Schedule, will not be able to compete in 13 European Tour tournaments, given his current global commitments and his recuperation and recovery programme which strictly limits the number of weeks in a row he can play.
Therefore McIlroy has agreed with Keith Pelley that he will play a minimum of three more tournaments before the end of the year, bringing him to his revised minimum obligation of 12 events.
Keith Pelley said: “These are exceptional circumstances and I have taken this situation and the resulting decision very seriously. I have spent the last two weeks examining every angle and every possible solution and I have spoken with Rory and his team, as well as independent medical advisers and some prominent players.
“After reviewing and discussing all the medical reports and recommendations from Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Andrew Adair, physiotherapist Dr Steve McGregor and our Chief of Medical staff Dr Roger Hawkes – while at the same time recognising that Rory is a world golfer with global commitments – I am convinced that he could not commit to any further tournament participation without risking further injury and persistent weakness to the ankle in the future.
“Therefore, after lengthy discussions, I have given him approval to play a minimum of 12 European Tour events this year.”