RORY McILROY has drawn widespread criticism over his decision to focus almost entirely on playing in America at the expense of the European Tour.

The Irishman also appears to have jeopardised his chances of future Ryder Cup captaincy after the introduction of new regulations governing eligibility.

Any player who declines membership of the European Tour, or who fails to fulfil their minimum obligation of at least four tournaments outside the majors and world championship events in any season, will become ineligible for the role of captain or vice-captain.

To date, McIlroy has only two tournaments on his schedule after the new riches on offer on the revamped PGA Tour proved irresistible to the 29-year-old.

But, while former Ryder Cup-winning captain Colin Montgomerie has warned McIlroy he is taking a sizeable gamble by increasing the pressure on himself in his quest to add to his haul of four majors, Monty refused to castigate the former world No.1.

Monty conceded that McIlroy's decision has proved controversial, but he pointed out: "We are self-employed and he feels the best way for him to progress and win majors is in that environment, in America, where there are three majors.

"We'll see if that decision bears fruit. But Rory has been his own man decision-wise and he's tried to get it right."

With Open and US Open championships and two USPGA titles already in his locker, McIlroy is missing only a green jacket to complete the set of all four majors.

But Monty suspects that his quest to be crowned Masters champion will continue to present certain difficulties, not least the memory of McIlroy's spectacular collapse at Augusta in 2011.

"That does put extra pressure on, and every time he goes to Augusta, that will be there," the 55-year-old Scot said. "Greg Norman had it, trying to win the Masters and he couldn't do it from six shots ahead.

"Rory was four ahead and couldn't do it and the more times he goes there and doesn't do it, playing in non-European Tour events to get his game honed just for Augusta, he puts pressure on himself.

"But the Masters is huge for him because it's a big deal to win all four majors and it might work. But it might not."

Monty also conceded that McIlroy's decision to focus on playing in the States is a body blow for the European Tour, given his drawing power. But he also believes it could have longer-term benefits.

He explained: "It's good for the European Tour when our guys are winning majors. Faldo's majors were great for the tour, so were Seve's. They won 11 between them and it was a great time.

"We also had Langer, Woosie and Sandy winning majors back in the late-1980s and early-1990s when we dominated.

"It's been more sparse since then, but if Rory – and Justin Rose – goes and wins a couple, Europe will be on a bit of a high again and the other players will benefit from their success, so Mr Average European Tour player is hoping they do very well."

Monty, who led Europe to Ryder Cup victory at Celtic Manor in 2010, does not doubt that McIlroy harbours ambitions to one day follow in his footsteps, but he doubts that it figures high on his to-do list, meantime.

"I don't think he's interested in captaincy right now," he said. "He's interested in winning as many majors as he can and that's understandable. He's also probably hoping that in 20 years' time that rule might have changed!"

Monty was also keen to make the point that the leading stars of European and American golf only come together for one week every two years and that their priorities have changed.

But he also had a message for those players who constantly complain about having to deal with demanding schedules and the mental and physical effects that has on them.

He added: "I used to play 12 or 13 weeks in a row doing stuff they don't do now and it was never an issue with me, so I say to them: Just get on with it."

Colin Montgomerie was speaking at a golf clinic at Edinburgh's Braid Hills Golf Centre, hosted by sponsors Aberdeen Standard Investments