A week after Rory McIlroy changed course and decided he would play enough in 2019 to keep his European Tour membership, The Associated Press reported that Francesco Molinari isn’t as committed to playing overseas next year.
Molinari told the AP that he plans to focus on the PGA Tour in 2019 and may not play in Europe next year until he defends his Claret Jug at The Open in July at Royal Portrush. Molinari’s reasoning deals with schedule changes on the PGA Tour, which includes the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players switching to March.
The 36-year-old Italian wouldn’t even confirm a commitment to the British Masters in May. Molinari’s 2018 Ryder Cup partner, Tommy Fleetwood, is hosting the event next year at Hillside.
“I would like to play the British Masters, but it depends probably on the first couple of months of the season,” Molinari said. “If I learned one thing this season, it is to be a bit flexible with the schedule playing two tours. With the changes, it is a bit different. Wentworth (BMW PGA) was always the first for me, but now it has moved from May to September. That might be the first regular European Tour event I play.”
To retain membership, Molinari needs to play four regular European Tour events outside of the majors or World Golf Championships. There is also a new rule that would prevent Molinari from potentially becoming a Ryder Cup captain in the future if he gave up European Tour membership: “Players cannot be a European Ryder Cup captain or vice captain if they decline membership of the European Tour or fail to fulfill their minimum event obligation in any season.”
Molinari went 5-0 last September in Paris.