x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Move west to US PGA Tour proving wrong direction for European players

Europeans such as Rory McIlroy, Ross Fisher and Martin Kaymer enduring a frustrating time since signing up for US tour, writes Steve Elling.

Rory McIlroy has only managed to play on the weekend once since rejoining the US tour. Warren Little / Getty Images
Rory McIlroy has only managed to play on the weekend once since rejoining the US tour. Warren Little / Getty Images

They are different fields of battle and different swords, obviously. But at the rate things are going, the current PGA Tour season might prompt the biggest reverse migration of uniformed Europeans since the Yanks ran off the Brits in 1812.

Much was written last fall when Ryder Cup veterans Martin Kaymer, Peter Hanson, Nicolas Colsaerts and Ross Fisher elected to take up membership on the American circuit, since spending much of the season overseas would dilute the firepower of the European Tour.

Not to worry. At this point, it is looking like a one-and-done proposition for some in the group, though the foursome as a whole has failed to distinguish itself over the first three months.

Notably, while fellow Ryder Cuppers Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood had rejoined the US tour in 2012, both established a primary home base in the US this year - and have similarly struggled to play at previous levels.

Coincidence? Maybe. But it is reinforcing the notion that talent levels on the US tour run far deeper than those elsewhere. As a group, the four new members have amassed one top-10 finish in stroke play.

In all, the aforementioned six have amassed three top-10s in stroke play and seen their world rankings drop a combined 46 spots since late December.

A breakdown of the breakdowns:

Colsaerts In six US starts, he has one top-10 finish, in the 64-man match-play event. Unless he finishes in the top 125 in earnings, he loses his card. He has fallen five spots in the rankings to No 41.

Kaymer In five PGA Tour starts, the Ryder Cup hero has one top 10, also in match play. At least Kaymer, by virtue of his PGA Championship victory, is exempt through 2015. His ranking has dropped three spots to 31st.

Hanson The two-time Ryder Cup player has one top-10 finish in four US starts. He has easily been the best of the bunch, with three top-17 finishes. He must finish in the top 125 to retain his status for 2014 and is currently 62nd in earnings, the best of the six on this list.

Fisher He earned his 2013 card by slogging through Q-School, but it has been a messy transition otherwise. Fisher has played six times, missed three cuts and finished no better than 21st. His world ranking has dropped 28 spots to No 122.

McIlroy While not a newbie, McIlroy seems to have caught whatever bug is going through the European ranks. He has played on the weekend once this season, at a no-cut event, and lost his No 1 spot to Tiger Woods, losing a five-point lead in the rankings.

Westwood He turns 40 in April and decided to move the family to Florida. So far, the result has been underwhelming. In six US starts, Westwood has one top-20 finish and his ranking has dropped six spots to No 13.

 

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