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Rory McIlroy says DP World Tour should get in ‘the mix’ with designated events

After the PGA Tour revealed changes to its designated event format earlier this week, some felt the schedule alterations neglected the DP World Tour.

In 2022, the European circuit and PGA Tour formed a strategic alliance and announced that the top 10 finishers on the DP World Tour’s Order of Merit will be rewarded with a PGA Tour card, if they’re not already exempt.

But with the PGA Tour introducing 70-78 player fields boasting lucrative purses and guaranteed paychecks with no cut for many designated events in 2024, some are concerned that DP World Tour players won’t be getting a piece of the pie.

“How does this help the so called strategic alliance with @dpworldtour?” Richard Bland, a long-time DP World Tour member who now plays with LIV Golf, wrote on Instagram Thursday. “The 10 players will have zero chance of getting in these limited field events!! Making their chances of keeping their playing rights VERY difficult!! Just proves that the @pgatour have no interest in this alliance. And of course this is ‘growing the game.’ $20 million, limited field, no cut ... sound familiar.”

Rory McIlroy addressed the blowback Friday at Bay Hill, saying he believes the DP World Tour should be included in some of the designated events. However, he still feels the DP World Tour is a great pathway to earn status on Tour and eventually play into the Tour’s top tournaments.

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

“I think Europe needs to get into the mix,” said McIlroy, who sits T-21 halfway through the Arnold Palmer Invitational. “I think everyone knows (the PGA Tour) is the place that you want to play golf, right? People complain about these 10 cards going to (DP World) Tour players that get on this Tour. But if I’m a European tour player, that’s brilliant.

“Instead of trying to think about what’s good for the Tour, think about what’s good for the players who are on that tour. I think that’s where people need to sort of reframe their mind a little bit.

“So to have the opportunity to be in the top 10 in Europe and then get over where all the opportunity is, which is here – I’m not saying there’s no opportunity over there, there is. But the one thing I would like to see going forward with this designated events schedule is trying to get some of those tournaments in the mix overseas.”

The PGA Tour unveiled the basic concepts behind what the circuit is calling the “Designated Event Model” in a memo sent to players.

The PGA Tour and DP World Tour have one co-sanctioned tournament overseas, the Scottish Open, which isn’t designated. McIlroy offered multiple DP World Tour staples that could possibly become an international, co-sanctioned designated event.

“Irish Open. Spanish Open. Scottish Open is obviously a co-sanctioned event now which is a big step forward,” McIlroy said. “Wentworth (home of the BMW PGA Championship, the tour’s flagship event.) There’s a few obvious ones that stick out that you could try to incorporate into more of a world tour schedule, more so than it just being purely DP World, purely PGA Tour and trying to sort of combine the two a little bit.’”

The Northern Irishman, however, noted that not every European player wants to play across the Atlantic full-time. And that would certainly prevent some of the DP World Tour’s marquee talents from cashing in on the Tour’s recent schedule overhaul.

“Honestly, I feel like some — I have to be careful about what I say here. There’s a lot of big fish in a small pond in Europe,” McIlroy said. “Then, when they get over here, they find it difficult and they don’t like it. And then they go back to what’s comfortable.”