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McIlroy: I was lonely in the U.S.

Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy has decided to play in Europe next year to spend more time with friends and family.
Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy has decided to play in Europe next year to spend more time with friends and family.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rory McIlroy will return to the European Tour as a full member next season
  • Northern Irishman had played fulltime for his rookie year on PGA Tour in 2010
  • The 21-year-old says he misses being at home with his friends and family
  • McIlroy is skipping this week's Singapore Open, where Ian Poulter is defending champion

(CNN) -- Young golf star Rory McIlroy has turned his back on the PGA Tour and decided to focus on playing in Europe next year, revealing that he feels "lonely" when on the U.S. circuit.

The 21-year-old, who won his first PGA Tour title at Quail Hollow in May, will follow Ryder Cup teammate and new world No. 1 Lee Westwood in concentrating on the European Tour.

"Sometimes you feel as though you have to be in America just to play the mandatory 15 and, at the start of this year, that was something I really wanted to do," he told reporters in Singapore, according to Reuters.com.

"I did that, but I also realized it wasn't for me -- but then it doesn't mean to say that I don't want to play fulltime in the States again."

If you are playing well in the States, it's a great place to be, but if you're not it can be a lonely place
--Rory McIlroy
RELATED TOPICS
  • Rory McIlroy
  • PGA European Tour
  • PGA Tour
  • Ryder Cup
  • Golf

The world No. 9 qualified for the lucrative FedEx Cup playoffs in his rookie year in the U.S. as he earned more than $2.5 million in prize money and finished 26th overall.

"I found myself in America -- especially in the FedEx Cup play-off series -- just not wanting to be there, especially on the golf course," the Northern Irishman said.

"I switched on the Golf Channel and began watching the Omega European Masters in Switzerland and thinking to myself I would rather be there instead.

"It would be easier if I had a place in the States, and that would definitely make it easier to play both tours. Besides, with the majors and the WGCs, plus a few other events such as my defense of the Wells Fargo Championship, I will still play 11 or 12 there next year, and I will be happy with that."

McIlroy said he made his decision before European Tour officials increased the minimum number of tournaments required for full membership to 13.

"But that does make it more difficult," he said. "Besides, I enjoy my time too much back at home. Holly [his girlfriend] also has another two years at university and we have two dogs, a nice house and I love my life back in Ireland, back in Europe and I don't want ever to give that up.

"But if I keep playing the way I have been playing, I will get all the invitations I need. Also after playing the Ryder Cup, I got a great sense of the camaraderie out there, and I got to know many of the European guys a lot better.

"The thing is that if you are playing well in the States, it's a great place to be, but if you're not it can be a lonely place. Whereas if you are not playing well on the European Tour you still have plenty of mates to hang out with."

McIlroy has decided to skip this week's Singapore Open, where Ryder Cup teammate Ian Poulter will defend his title, and instead focus on retaining his own Hong Kong Open crown later this month.

Englishman Poulter will be up against the European Tour's leading money-winners, Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell, plus Sunday's WGC-HSBC Champions winner Francesco Molinari.

Former world No. 1 Tiger Woods will defend his Australian Masters title in Melbourne this week, with the field also featuring Colombia's Camilo Villegas and Spain's Sergio Garcia.

Home hopes include two-time champion Robert Allenby, former U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy and Stuart Appleby.