Rory McIlroy has left no room for interpretation. When it comes to the idea of a new start up league that would rival the PGA Tour, the world’s No. 1 ranked golfer says, “I’m out.”
Representatives from the Premier Golf League have been approaching and meeting with high-profile players around the PGA Tour over the past few months. In recent weeks, Tiger Woods confirmed he’d been approached by the PGL and Phil Mickelson played a round of golf in Saudi Arabia with backers from the League.
The PGL is proposing an 18-event schedule of 54-hole tournaments around the world. The events would be exclusive to the top-48 players in the world and would feature total prize money in the vicinity of $240 million. The new league is primarily being funded by Saudi Arabian money.
For McIlroy, the money isn’t enough to leave the PGA Tour.
“The more I’ve thought about it, the more I don’t like it," McIlroy said in Mexico City on Wednesday.
“Money is the easy part. It shouldn’t be the driving factor. Look, for some people it is. And we’re professional golfers and we’re out here playing golf to make a living. But at the end of the day, I value my freedom and my autonomy over everything else.”
A driving force for McIlroy’s comments could be a memo that was sent to players by PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan. The memo was crystal clear: Any golfer who took part in the Premier Golf League would lose their PGA Tour membership.
As far as where players stand as a whole on the PGL, McIlroy admits that they are split, and that if everyone decided to go to the new league, then he might not be left with a choice. But for now, the four-time major winner seems to be residing on the side of the PGA Tour.
“I would like to be on the right side of history on this one," he said.