Although the move was not billed as a reaction to the recent European exodus, the PGA Tour Policy Board approved a rules change at its year-ending meeting last month that would give the likes of Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood an extra start in the United States next year.
Non-Tour members normally get 12 U.S. starts a year, but because McIlroy decided to forfeit his membership next year he would have been limited to 10 Tour starts for the next five years. The board voted, however, to not include The Players Championship among that maximum.
McIlroy, as well as Lee Westwood, who forfeited his membership in 2008, is qualified for next year’s Players, which means both players will get an extra start.
Andy Pazder, the Tour’s senior vice president of tournament administration, said the change was not in response to McIlroy’s decision to forgo membership.
“Certainly (McIlory and Westwood’s) situation highlighted that it would put a player in a situation where they would have to choose one tournament over another, but (the policy change) was not a direct result,” Pazder said.