McIlroy swayed by Singh
Dubai - Rory McIlroy has revealed a conversation with Jeev Milkha Singh swayed his decision to join the US PGA Tour next season, despite advice from Ernie Els, Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke to stay in Europe for another year.
The European Tour's money-list leader, speaking on the eve of the tour's Dubai World Championship finale, said he sought advice about taking up his PGA Tour card from some of the game's biggest names and most of them told him to stay put for one more season.
"Before I made up my mind over America, I went around looking for different opinions and a little bit of advice. I went to Clarkey (Darren Clarke) Westy (Lee Westwood), Chubby (his manager Andrew Chandler), Ernie (Els) and said: 'Look, I'm thinking about it (joining the PGA Tour), what do you think?'
"They said: 'There's no rush. Why don't you try and win a bit more over here (on the European Tour) before going over there?'"
However, a conversation with India's Singh, who competes on both sides of the Atlantic, tipped the balance.
"I had lunch with Jeev during the World Matchplay Championship. He said: 'If you want to why not? You're young. It's great.'
"I knew I wanted to go and that was the conversation that probably swung it for me.
"I want to challenge myself against the best and the only way to do that is to play the best fields possible. Most of the events I'll play over there will have Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker ... all the best players in the world."
The Northern Irishman said he did not think the decision would affect his chances of winning the European Tour's order of merit in the future.
"I don't think this will be my last chance. I can learn from playing over there," added McIlroy. "I want to challenge for majors and everything. I think that will benefit me in the long run."
If McIlroy finishes ahead of Westwood (second on the money list), Germany's Martin Kaymer and Briton Ross Fisher this week, he will become the second-youngest order of merit winner behind Seve Ballesteros, who topped the money-list at 19 in 1976.
"Seve was the catalyst for European golf. He was the man," McIlroy said. Ballesteros was diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumour last year, which has required four operations, but has since resumed playing.
The tournament winner will take home 830 675 euros and earn a five-year European Tour exemption. Following the tournament, the top 15 in the Race to Dubai will also share a bonus pool of 5.04 million euros ($7.5 million). The new European number one will earn $1.5 million and a seven-year Tour exemption.