Rory McIlroy handed European Tour special exemption to play in Final Series
In a move which is sure to bring with it much controversy, Rory McIlroy has been given an exemption by the European Tour so he can play in the lucrative end-of-season Final Series.
The Northern Irishman has had a disorganised season fragmented by an ankle injury that has kept him away from the field of play for quite some time – forcing him to opt of out of some of the 13 events needed to remain in the Race to Dubai despite currently leading the rankings.
McIlroy withdrew from the Scottish Open, the Open and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational – all of which would have counted towards his qualifying tally.
However, after holding talks with the European Tour, it has now been agreed that McIlroy will compete in three further events to bring his tally to 12, with officials using their discretion to ensure their star draw is not absent from the big show.
Chief Executive Keith Pelley said: "These are exceptional circumstances and I have taken this situation and the resulting decision very seriously.
"I have spent the last two weeks examining every angle and every possible solution and I have spoken with Rory and his team, as well as independent medical advisers and some prominent players.
“After reviewing and discussing all the medical reports and recommendations from orthopaedic surgeon Dr Andrew Adair, physiotherapist Dr Steve McGregor and our chief of medical staff Dr Roger Hawkes - while at the same time recognising that Rory is a world golfer with global commitments - I am convinced that he could not commit to any further tournament participation without risking further injury and persistent weakness to the ankle in the future.
"Therefore, after lengthy discussions, I have given him approval to play a minimum of 12 European Tour events this year."
The Final Series begins with the Turkish Airlines Open at the tail end of October, before taking in the WGC-Champions event and the BMW Masters in China, with the climax coming at the Tour Championship in Dubai in November.
To many this comes as no surprise at all. European Tour officials have taken the obvious decision by offering dispensation to McIlroy in order to protect both their short and long-term investments.
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