BELEK, Turkey, Nov 14 (Reuters) - One of the first tasks for George O’Grady’s successor as European Tour chief must be to find a way to entice Rory McIlroy and the rest of the elite to play on their home circuit more, according to Colin Montgomerie.
The 65-year-old O’Grady announced this month that he was retiring after a decade in charge of the tour and Montgomerie believes it is vitally important for his replacement to stop the relentless drain of talent to the United States.
World number one McIlroy is among several leading European players who are based in America and only travel back across the Atlantic for the best tournaments.
“I think the new CEO has to be very careful about the stars of our tour playing full-time somewhere else,” eight-times European number one Montgomerie told reporters at the $7 million Turkish Airlines Open.
“We’ve got to be quite careful here. The first thing a sponsor asks is, ‘Who’s playing?’. And too many times nine or 10 of our Ryder Cup team are playing full-time in America and we have to address that.
“We have to have more of our stars playing more in Europe more of the time. That’s a big, big first job of the CEO to try and address that situation.”
Montgomerie also feels the new chief executive may have to make adjustments to the four-tournament Final Series, Europe’s equivalent to the FedExCup competition in the U.S.
With British Open and U.S. PGA Championship title holder McIlroy set to be confirmed as the Race to Dubai money-list winner on Sunday, it will turn next week’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship in the United Arab Emirates into something of a damp squib.
“I think we’ll have to tweak the Final Series somehow so the Race to Dubai means something at the end of the day,” said course designer Montgomerie who was down the field on four-over-par when a thunderstorm caused play to be suspended midway through the second round in Turkey on Friday.
“Rory’s played great, don’t get me wrong, but it would be good to have the Race to Dubai competitive throughout the whole series.” (Editing by Ed Osmond)