Proposals by the European Tour's Tournament Players Committee to force players to play four of  six 'core' tournaments to retain membership will end any faint hope of seeing Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson ever playing in the Race to Dubai.

Holding on to its stars is vital for the European Tour Currently, European Tour members have to compete in a minimum of 12 Race to Dubai events, which means in essence that they only have to turn up for four regular events and add the four majors and four WGCs to fulfill their obligations.

Padraig Harrington said at St Andrews that he would be against the move, explaining: "In general I don't believe in protectionism."

Why would he support a move that only weakens the European Tour in general terms? He has been harshly cricitised for skipping the flagship BMW PGA Championship in recent years but one could hardly say that he hasn't supported the tour.

So far this year Harrington has played four 'core events' - the Abu Dhabi Championship,  the Irish Open, the French Open and this week's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

In fairness to the Dubliner, he will also play the Portugal Masters, the Barclays Singapore Open, the WGC HSBC Champions and the Dubai World Championship before heading to Sherwood for Tiger's end of season bash where there are world ranking points on offer this year.  

But what about McIlroy, who is contemplating playing a dual schedule on both sides of the Atlantic?

Any move that makes it more difficult for one of world golf's rising stars to play with the best while at the same time supporting his home tour must surely be regarded as a dangerous step.

The Race to Dubai will die a death when it becomes apparent Woods, Mickelson et al will never turn their backs on the PGA Tour. Just look what happened this year. In Tim Finchem's hour of need, the big two played all four FedExCup play-off events. 

Harrington and Luke Donald were the only Europeans to stay the full course but if the rules in Europe change next year, players like McIlroy and Henrik Stenson will surely join them in future.