Who Can Blame Rory McIlroy For Quitting PGA Tour Board
Derek Clements reacts to Rory McIlroy's resignation from the PGA Tour's Policy Board in his latest View From The Fairway.
“Loose lips sink ships.” This is not a politician talking about war. It is Rory McIlroy discussing possible new funding avenues for the PGA Tour following his shock departure from the organisation's Policy Board.
He said: “I’ve got a lot going on in my life between my golf game, my family and my growing investment portfolio, my involvement in TGL [an indoor golf league], and I just felt like something had to give.
“I just didn’t feel like I could commit the time and the energy into doing that. It’s in good hands and I felt like it was the right time to step off.
"I’m thinking as we go into next year and I’m getting ramped up for Augusta and all those tournaments I just couldn’t see me putting the time and energy into it. It’s a big decision and, if I’m not prepared going into those meetings, it’s better someone else takes my place.
“I don’t think my play was affected. I’ve played really well. I like being busy. I like having things to do away from the golf course. But I don’t think it affected me at all.
“I enjoyed it. It was an education. I was in the room with some very smart people. I was appreciative of the opportunity. Hopefully that will stand me in good stead with whatever I decide to do in the future.”
I am really struggling to get my head around any of this. Does McIlroy really believe things are in good hands? Surely not.
One thing is for sure - regular PGA Tour players have lost a strong voice and a good friend on the players council, a man who cares deeply about the game and the direction in which it is heading.
He is a man who tinkered with various schedule changes and different mental approaches in an attempt to land that elusive Green Jacket and I seriously doubt that the work he has been doing with the Player Council has had any impact on his game. Yes, he missed the cut at Augusta in 2023, but he came within a whisker of winning the US Open.
It is surely as simple as the fact that he doesn’t want to be part of any discussions that involve Saudi Arabia’s PIF fund.
McIlroy had served on the tour's Player Advisory Council between 2019 and 2021, acting as chairman for the final year of that spell. He then became a player director on the board. This coincided with a period of unprecedented rancour in the professional game.
At every opportunity, McIlroy was happy to address difficult questions on behalf of the PGA Tour.
But huge uncertainty surrounds the future of the men’s game. Next season, the PGA Tour’s elite players will be competing for vast sums of money and there are ongoing concerns about how it is all going to be financed moving forward.
It was interesting to note that Jon Rahm immediately ruled himself out as a possible replacement for McIlroy.
"You won't see me there," the Spaniard said. "Absolutely no chance. I've been asked a couple times if I have any interest, and I'm not going to spend, I don't know how many meetings they have, but they are six, seven, hour plus long.
"As regards to Rory, he's obviously been put in a situation where a lot has been expected of him, and I don't know the exact reason why he left the board.
"But I certainly wouldn't blame somebody like him to just want to focus a bit more on his game and his family and enjoy the bit of time he's truly earned. Again, it's a big commitment for somebody to be part of it.”
McIlroy says: "From a financial standpoint, there's never been a better time to be a professional golfer."
But very few people have any idea of how the men's game will look beyond next season.
The Northern Irishman is better placed than most in that regard and insists the situation is not as confusing as many believe. If you believe that, you will believe anything.
Still to be resolved is the 'Framework Agreement' struck last June between the PGA and DP World Tours and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund. Many suggest the sides remain miles apart and the 31 December deadline for a deal is totally unrealistic.
The PGA Tour is also talking to other private investors, who appear ready to inject billions into the game. But what will be the cost when they seek a return on their investment?
The bids have been discussed by the tour but details are scarce. "If you were in the middle of it, you would see that there's a path forward," McIlroy said. That sounds like wishful thinking.
The bottom line is that the tours require extra money to finance their huge purses for the 2024 season. And they need those inflated prize funds to deter potential defectors to the Saudi-funded LIV circuit.
And don’t forget that all of this is being scrutinised by the United States government , which is deeply concerned that a major American sporting body is considering jumping into bed with Saudi Arabia.
So who on earth is going to replace McIlroy? (See Editor's Note). My money would be on Brandt Snedeker, a man who has been there and done it but who has struggled with his game for much of the past couple of years. Snedeker, a former Ryder Cup player, is a deep thinker about the game and will surely have more time on his hands than McIlroy.
Editor's Note: Since the publication of this article, it has been confirmed that Jordan Spieth was elected to take Rory McIlroy's position on the PGA Tour's Policy Board for the remainder of the scheduled term, which lasts till the end of 2024.
Be part of the action with a selection of unique golf tournament experiences, from playing in a pro-am with the stars to watching the action at golf’s most illustrious events. Whether it’s the Masters or The Open, The Ryder Cup or WM Phoenix Open, build your own bespoke package with the experts at Golfbreaks.com.
What do you think? leave your comments below (Comments)
comments powered by Disqus