Rory McIlroy abruptly resigns from PGA Tour policy board

Rory McIlroy resigned from the PGA Tour board on Tuesday, a sudden move that comes as the tour tries to finalize a deal to create a new commercial venture linked to Saudi Arabia’s national wealth fund.

Northern Ireland European golfer Rory McIlroy walks onto the 2nd green during his singles match against US golfer Sam Burns on the final day of play in the 44th Ryder Cup (AFP)

McIlroy did not mention his decision earlier in the day at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, although one comment was telling about his three years at the table during some of the tour’s most turbulent times.

Asked if he liked getting a seat on the table, McIlroy said, “Not particularly, no. It’s not what I signed up for whenever I went on the show. But yes, the game of professional golf has been in full swing for the last two years.”

In a statement, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan and board chairman Ed Herlihy thanked McIlroy for his dedication and commitment over the past five years — two years on the Players Advisory Council, one as PAC chairman who sat in board meetings, and in the last two years. as the first international player to serve on the board.

“Rory’s insight was instrumental in shaping the success of the tour, and his willingness to express his views thoughtfully was particularly influential,” they said. “Given the extraordinary time and effort that Rory – and his fellow director players – have invested in the tour during this unprecedented period of transformation in our history, we certainly understand and respect his decision to step down to focus on his game. and his children.”

The New York Times first reported McIlroy’s resignation.

Monahan said in a memo to players earlier Tuesday that the tour was working toward finalizing a deal with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and trying to narrow down offers from a handful of private equity firms looking to invest in Ventures PGA Tours for profit.

The deadline for finalizing the tour deal with the Saudis, an agreement announced June 6, is the end of the year, although the deadline can be extended.

No player has been more vocal than McIlroy about the PIF’s financial support for rival league LIV Golf, which has lured several major champions with huge signing fees. LIV Golf recently completed its second year, and it is unclear how the PIF deal with the tour affects it.

McIlroy has always criticized LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman and some of the younger players who went to LIV for “taking the easy way out”.

But he was left in the dark about Monaghan’s secret negotiations with the PIF in May, along with other top players. The day after the shock announcement, McIlroy said, “It’s hard for me not to sit up here and feel a little bit like a sacrificial lamb and feel like I put myself out there and this happens.”

He also said that day that he had come to grips with Saudi participation in other sports, and that perhaps the tour was better for being a partner as long as it is done in the right way. As recently as last week, he said he hoped the PIF would be involved in the tour deal “and we can bring the game of golf back together.”

Players do not receive fees for serving on the board, and McIlroy has been involved in the tour business during rough times. He served on the PAC in 2019 and 2020, the latter right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic as the tour was finding a way to start playing.

All in all there was the threat of a new league funded by the wealth of Saudi Arabia. Even before LIV Golf was created, McIlroy was the first to say he was not interested in a new league, saying he wanted to be “on the right side of history”.

McIlroy is also associated with Tiger Woods’ TMRW Sports, an entertainment and media joint venture behind the new tech-infused TGL golf series that debuts in January.

He is already in his fifth season on the European tour and said he felt he was playing some of his best golf, even as he tried to end a decade without winning a major.

The other five player-directors on the 12-member board will elect a successor to serve out McIlroy’s term, which ends after next year. (AP) TIME TIME TIME

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