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Martin Kaymer rejects move to PGA Tour
November 24, 2010

The U.S.-based PGA Tour, once the undisputed magnet for golfers seeking fame and fortune, looked to have lost some of its pulling power on Tuesday as world No 3 Martin Kaymer opted for a future in Europe.

The 25-year-old German, already a major winner and the head of a wave of bright new European talent, was followed by British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen who said his decision to try his luck in the U.S. in 2011 would be reviewed after a year.

Kaymer, who won August’s U.S. PGA championship, explained that 15 events, the minimum required to retain full membership on the U.S. circuit, could not be worked into his schedule.

“I sat down last week with my manager, my family and we had a look at the schedule and it just doesn’t fit playing both tours next year,” Kaymer told reporters at the Dubai World Championship which is the finale of the European Tour season.

Kaymer’s decision to remain playing full time in his home continent comes just over two weeks after Britain’s world No. 10 Rory McIlroy said he was quitting the U.S. Tour after just one season.

Those decisions to stay loyal to Europe, along with the British world No. 1 Lee Westwood, ensures the European Tour has three players inside the top-10 who are not members of the U.S. Tour.

It will mean European Tour events will receive enhanced world ranking points with the trio in a tournament.

In the 1980s and 1990s, a string of leading players who had honed their games on the European Tour such as Greg Norman, Bernhard Langer, Nick Faldo and Ernie Els quit to play in the U.S.

It is clearly no longer that automatic route for the game’s creme de la creme but it would be wrong to write off the PGA Tour just yet, however.

The U.S. circuit still boasts golf’s biggest draw, world No 2 Tiger Woods, not to mention the world Nos 7-9, Britons Paul Casey, Luke Donald and U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell as full time members.

It also remains the biggest cash-cow in the sport—Jim Furyk pocketed a $10 million bonus for winning its end-of-season FedEx Cup series in September against a $1.5 million top-up for winning the European Tour’s equivalent Race to Dubai this week.

South African Oosthuizen, ranked world No. 23, appeared to be wavering between the two tours on Tuesday with a foot in both as “full-time” members of each.

He told a news conference he would join the U.S. Tour having qualified through his British Open win at St Andrews in July but later revealed to Reuters on Tuesday he would play only a year there before deciding more firmly on his long-term future.

“It has always been a dream of mine to play in America, and having grown up in South Africa watching the U.S. Tour on TV, you always want to play there, so winning The Open gave me that opportunity,” he said.

“I will then make a decision at the end of next year whether I want to be a member in 2012, and that will depend on how 2011 goes over there in the States.

“In the past I’ve only ever played five or six events, so at least with full U.S. Tour membership I can play sort of where I want to, and then make a further decision for the year after.”

European Tour CEO George O’Grady said Kaymer’s decision helped bolster its position.

“The European Tour is naturally delighted we will still have three of the Major champions from this year as members of our Tour next year.

“We have never been about ‘you must here’ or ‘you must play there’ because golfers need to do things in the cycle of their development as a golfer.

“So you must do what you feel is right for your own development but then we recognise that to be a great golfer you have to be a great player in America as well.”

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