VIRGINIA WATER, England (Reuters) - Ryder Cup stalwart Graeme McDowell has explained how hard a juggling act it is for the top European players to commit to events on their home circuit and compete in the best tournaments in the U.S.
The European Tour has struggled to find new sponsors and keep tournaments on its schedule in recent years with the likes of world number one Rory McIlroy, third-ranked Henrik Stenson and number six Justin Rose spending most of their time in the U.S.
“It’s obvious that it’s a tough landscape right now,” world number 35 McDowell told a news conference on the eve of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
”When you have an option on where to play in the world it’s a tough decision. But this one is always on the schedule for me and for most guys, this is an iconic event.
“As a European golfer you would love to add your name to this trophy and that’s why there is such a strong field assembled here.”
In truth, though, the absence of Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey means this week’s field is not as strong as it could be.
“For someone like myself who makes his home in America and has a wife and young child, it becomes an increasingly difficult balancing act to work out when you jump on a plane to travel all over the world,” said McDowell.
”You never want to go away for just one week. You want to try to put a run of two or three weeks together and it becomes difficult to leave the family when there is a $7 million or $8 million event two hours up the road.
“But we also make our commitments to the European Tour and there are certain events I love to be at. This is one of them and next week’s Irish Open is another,” added the 2010 U.S. Open champion.
“There is a certain amount of loyalty. It’s hard every year and I understand when guys can’t do everything all the time.”
Editing by Toby Davis