Rory McIlroy has formally turned down the chance to take the first step towards joining Padraig Harrington as a full member of the lucrative PGA Tour.

The Ulster golfing sensation, 19, has earned over $550,000 from five events US this season - enough to secure Special Temporary Membership and the option to join the tour full time in 2010.

But McIlroy has decided that he gets enough US golf by mixing the majors and World Golf Championships with up to seven sponsor's invitations and doesn't want to be forced to play a minimum of 15 PGA Tour events each year.

After opening with a one-over par 72 in the Verizon Heritage in North Carolina, McIlroy explained: "I've spoken to the PGA Tour about taking out Special Temporary membership but I’ve decided against it for the time being.

"I am only going to play 11 events over here this year so I don’t need any extra invites to compete over here. I’ve thought about taking out full membership but that would mean adding another four events over here, which would be quite difficult.

“So it’s a lot of golf on top of what I need to play in Europe so I’ll put that idea on hold for the time being.”

McIlroy has caused a sensation in the US, where TV executives and golf fans are crying out for rivals for Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

Tied for 20th on his Masters debut, McIlroy is keen to get back to his Holywood home after a whirlwind week at Augusta National.

After carding three birdies and four bogeys to trail early leader Alex Cejka (64) by eight shots, he said: “I was a little flat coming off last week and I just didn’t get anything going but then I guess that is to be a little bit expected after playing in a Major.

“It was kind of strange too because if I hit a bad shot, I didn’t really mind. I am looking forward to getting home, as well. It’s not the of the world and if I can shoot something in the 60s I’ll be here for the weekend.”