World No. 9 Rory McIlroy will not play the PGA Tour next year and will instead return to the European circuit.
The 21-year-old Northern Irishman opted to take out a full PGA Tour card 12 months ago and clinched his first victory in the States with a closing 62 at the Quail Hollow Championship in May. That victory made him exempt on the PGA Tour through the end of the 2012 season.
But McIlroy, who finished third in the last two majors and played a starring role on his Ryder Cup debut at Celtic Manor last month, missed home and has decided to focus predominantly on Europe next year.
"I switched on the Golf Channel one morning when I was in the States and began watching the Omega European Masters in Switzerland and thinking to myself 'I would rather be there instead,'” he told several British newspapers on Monday. "If you're not playing well in the States, it can be a lonely place. But if you're not playing well on the European Tour, you still have plenty of mates to hang out with.
"Holly [his girlfriend] also has another two years at university and we have two dogs, a nice house and I love my life back in Ireland,” he explained. “I don't ever want to give that up."
McIlroy made his mind up after speaking to new world No. 1 Lee Westwood, and informed PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem in Shanghai on Sunday.
"The FedExCup is only about money and you shouldn't just be going over to play thinking about how much you can make," said McIlroy.
"I needed a break after the PGA [in August], but had only one week. There is no flexibility in your schedule as the FedEx forces you to appear at those events. I didn't like that."
McIlroy’s decision could leave as many as three of the top 10 players in the world rankings not belonging to the PGA Tour. England’s Lee Westwood, the new world No. 1, has not been a PGA Tour member for several years. PGA Champion Martin Kaymer of Germany, who is No. 3 in the world, has indicated he will not join the U.S. circuit next year.