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Hometown Rory

Rory's coming home, while Molinari is coming of age

Mark Roe Posted 10th November 2010 view comments

So Rory McIlroy has decided not to take up his full card on the PGA Tour next year.

The world number nine will return to the European Tour and the decision makes complete sense. It appears to be a mature decision from somebody who knows himself well and knows what he wants out of life.

McIlroy: wants to be closer to home

McIlroy: wants to be closer to home

His world ranking guarantees he can play in any tournament he wants to next year. There isn't a tournament that wouldn't want Rory McIlroy in its field. So what does the registration of a PGA Tour card give him? Rory doesn't get anything extra from that.

This appears to be a rational choice based on what Rory feels is best for him. The European Tour is his home, it's where he's learned to play golf and will provide a good environment for him to develop his fine talents.

Golfers need to have a quality of life and I think this is a strong and positive decision from Rory.

Mark Roe
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It has to be understood that Rory is now a world superstar golfer and the fact he has chosen to play in Europe is an irrelevance to the level of golf he will play during the next 12 months. Rory will still achieve whatever he wants to because he's so skilful.

Sometimes you reach a level in the game of golf where you can choose how you want to do things. Through his performances, through his victories on both sides of the Atlantic and through his world ranking he has earned the right to decide where he wants to play.

You have to look at the situation and ask several questions. What is best for him as a player? What is going to deliver the best results for him on the golf course?

If he is happier in the European environment and it's easier for him to get home to spend time with his loved ones, then it seems like a sensible decision to make.

It is also great news for the European Tour. It demonstrates the strength of the Tour on this side of the Atlantic, as well as the connection that the players have with it.

Golfers need to have a quality of life and I think this is a strong and positive decision from Rory.

Contention

As we saw at the HSBC Champions last week, McIlroy is always there or thereabouts.

When he has good weeks around the greens and on the greens, he is always going to be in contention. There are areas where he can still improve and he needs to figure those out and keep moving forward as a player, but he is always a threat.

He is an amazing talent, but even he couldn't match Francesco Molinari in Shanghai. I had a grin from ear to ear in the early hours of Sunday morning as he overcame a world-class field to win the biggest title of his career so far.

I have watched with interest over the last few years as he has developed into one of the top five ball strikers in the world of golf, but I did notice a few subtleties in his short game and his putting, in particular, that could help him move forward.

I've been working with him since the fortnight before the Ryder Cup and I was delighted to have the opportunity to work with someone so talented. He's thrown himself wholeheartedly into some ideas to improve his golf around the greens and the results have been almost immediate.

He shot two rounds of 62 to finish second in Portugal and then a few weeks later he won a WGC event. Previously, he'd only won one tournament in six years, but now he's holing a few more putts he has the confidence to win again many times.

I couldn't be happier for him because he has been in the shadow of his brother Edoardo this season, but I suspect we will see Francesco win a title or two every year for the next few years.

I've told him he can win a major championship - and win one soon. He's now in the top 15 in the world, but he's potentially a top-five player. There's no doubt about that.

It's amazing to see two brothers who are both so capable, so talented and so motivated. They are very different characters, they play the game differently, but they are clearly spurred on by each other.

With Matteo Manassero also hitting the headlines, this is a boom time for Italian golf and it's wonderful to see.

Defend

This week, we head to Singapore where Ian Poulter will be hoping to defend the title he won last year.

He enjoyed a wonderful start to the year, winning the Accenture Match Play, and some awesome early-season form saw him qualify for the European Ryder Cup team very quickly.

But from that point he has struggled to find his best form and the second half of his season has been blighted by inconsistency.

He has an awful lot going on in his life, with businesses and interests ranging from property to clothing, and that diversity of interests sometimes provides a distraction.

But with Poulter, you just never know when he's going to pop up and win one. If he feels he is hitting the ball well and his swing is in good shape then he's dangerous because he's so good at closing out tournaments.

We saw it in this event last year and I don't think he's ever too far away from the winner's circle. If it comes down to the last putt on the last green then you know he has the bottle to hole it.

That's why he's a contender every time he plays.

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