Rory McIlroy is quitting the American PGA Tour to return to Europe for his golf in the new year. McIlroy said he was lonely and homesick in America, missed his girlfriend, his house and his dogs are all in Ireland and he missed all of that.
McIlroy is 21 and it's entirely plausible that homesickness is the reason he wants to move back home. I'm sure he really misses his girlfriend and she misses him. Same for his dogs.
However, he's not the only European golfer to spurn the US tour recently. Germany's Martin Kaymer, England's Lee Westwood and Italy's Francesco Molinari have all opted for Europe's tour over America's.
Now maybe they're all homesick, but maybe there's another factor that made it easier to give in to their homesickness. Maybe they're unhappy with QE2.
No, not Queen Elizabeth the second, but the recently announced second round of Quantitative Easing. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has decided that printing an additional $600bn is just what the American economy needs to get things going again.
Maybe he's right, but I have my doubts and I'm not alone. There are many people who believe that QE2 and many of the other measures being pursued by the American government will have little positive effect on the economy, but will seriously undermine the strength of the dollar.
You may scoff at the idea of a 21-year-old professional golfer understanding the ins and outs of the actions of central banks and currency movements, but these guys all have advisers who do understand. If the advice is that the dollar will decline by 15-20% over the next 12 months, then that's a serious hit on the golfer's income, enough to make the European tour more attractive to any "homesick" golfer. Driving down the value of the dollar makes imports more expensive regardless of whether it's a barrel of oil, a bottle of French wine, a Japanese car or an Irish golfer.
Announcing that you're going to play professional golf in Europe because you disagree with the way the custodians of the American dollar - Bernanke and President Obama - are doing their job would not be a winning ploy. It's much better to be seen as a lovesick puppy rather than a mercenary professional athlete.
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