Rory McIlroy's plan to reduce European Tour events disappoints Paul McGinley

Rory McIlroy during this year's Irish Open at Ballyliffin
Rory McIlroy is considering not playing in next year's Irish Open at Lahinch

Former European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley says he is baffled by the prospect of Rory McIlroy playing just two European Tour events next season.

World number seven McIlroy must play four European Tour tournaments outside the majors and World Golf Championship events to retain Tour membership.

McIlroy has only two on his schedule and may miss the Irish Open, which he has hosted for the last four years.

"It's very disappointing," said McGinley in his Sky Sports column.

"I've been racking my brains wondering how that can be.

"Obviously Rory sees it in other ways and has got his own rationale for that, although I'm finding it hard to understand," added McGinley, who will succeed the 29-year-old as the Irish Open's tournament host at next year's event in Lahinch.

"Of the 12 players that represented Europe in the Ryder Cup this year, Rory is the only one who is going to do that and the others have all signed up to play the minimum of four events outside of the majors and WGCs.

"We've already reduced the number of events players have to play on the European Tour from five down to four, just to make it easy for the guys, like Rory, who are playing a worldwide schedule.

"It is right at the very minimum at the moment and the European Tour don't feel that four is huge task to meet."

If McIlroy does give up his membership in 2019 he would be able to rejoin the European Tour in order to be eligible for the 2020 Ryder Cup, although a regulation introduced in January 2017 would prevent him being a captain or vice-captain in the biennial contest.

However, Europe's winning skipper in 2014 does not believe the future captaincy issue is a big consideration for McIlroy.

"I don't think Rory is worried about what is going to happen in 20 years, which is what he would be looking at if he was going to become Ryder Cup captain or vice-captain.

"At this moment, he is worried about his golf and focused on what he's doing in the next 12 months."