Rory McIlroy. Alamy Stock Photo

Rory McIlroy quits PGA Tour board role 'to focus on his game and his family'

Jon Rahm says he has no interest in replacing his Ryder Cup team-mate on the board.

LAST UPDATE | Nov 15th 2023, 1:27 PM

RORY McILROY HAS resigned from the PGA Tour’s board after admitting he had grown disenchanted with the role during the tour’s acrimonious battle with Saudi-funded LIV Golf.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and board chairman Edward Herlihy said in a statement late last night that the four-time major winner had decided to step away from the board to concentrate on his golf and spend more time with his family.

McIlroy’s resignation is another sign of the turmoil that has gripped golf since the emergence of the LIV Golf circuit last year.

“Given the extraordinary time and effort that Rory — and all of his fellow player directors — have invested in the tour during this unprecedented, transformational period in our history, we certainly understand and respect his decision to step down in order to focus on his game and his family,” Monahan and Herlihy said in the statement on the PGA Tour website.

The 34-year-old McIlroy had been one of the staunchest allies of the PGA Tour during its bitter civil war with LIV, reportedly turning down a huge offer to join the free-spending series.

The Northern Irishman was among those players left stunned in June when the PGA Tour announced that it was forming a joint company with LIV’s Saudi paymasters, effectively bringing the dispute to an end.

McIlroy later revealed he had no knowledge of the talks that led to the tie-up between the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

After relentlessly going in to bat on behalf of the PGA Tour during the LIV saga, McIlroy made it plain he felt let down by a deal sealed behind his back.

“It’s hard for me to not sit up here and feel somewhat like a sacrificial lamb and feeling like I’ve put myself out there and this is what happens,” McIlroy said at the Canadian Open in June.

However, McIlroy admitted that attempting to fend off the billions Saudi Arabia was prepared to throw at golf had become futile.

“Honestly, I’ve just resigned myself to the fact that this is, you know, this is what’s going to happen,” he said.

“It’s very hard to keep up with people that have more money than anyone else. And, again, if they want to put that money into the game of golf, then why don’t we partner with them and make sure that it’s done in the right way?”

Speaking in Dubai on Tuesday before his resignation from the PGA Tour board had been made public, McIlroy made it clear he was no longer enthused by his role as a board member.

Asked if he was looking forward to helping shape negotiations that will determine what the PGA Tour-Saudi joint venture will look like, McIlroy replied: “Not particularly, no.

“Not what I signed up for whenever I went on the board. But yeah, the game of golf has been in flux for the last two years,” McIlroy said.

Jon Rahm has backed McIlroy’s decision and said he has no interest in replacing his Ryder Cup team-mate.

“Absolutely no chance,” Rahm said.  “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. I’m not here for that.

“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 first joined the PGA Tour’s player advisory council in 2019 and went on to serve as its chairman in 2021, roles which Rahm feels may have had an impact on McIlroy’s on-course performance.

“I think it is a significant commitment, so it could have an effect,” the Masters champion said.

“It’s not only the meetings. It’s the phone calls and the players wanting to talk to you. 

“So I think it could hinder a little bit, and there’s a reason probably why I can’t recall any great player being a full-time board member and winning tournaments and majors at the same time, at least in recent history.”

– © AFP 2023

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