Rory McIlroy Open to PGA Tour Policy Board Return: 'I Don't Think There's Been Much Progress Made'

The four-time major champion had left the board late last year to focus on his game and family.
Apr 14, 2024; Augusta, Georgia, USA; Rory McIlroy and his caddie Harry Diamond on the 15th green
Apr 14, 2024; Augusta, Georgia, USA; Rory McIlroy and his caddie Harry Diamond on the 15th green / Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Rory McIlroy has yet to officially return to the PGA Tour Policy Board, but the four-time major champion said Wednesday that he is open to the possibility because he believes not enough progress has been made toward an agreement that would bring the game back together.

McIlroy resigned his position as a player director on the 12-member board in November, citing a need to spend more time working on his game.

But as the PGA Tour seeks to make a deal with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia that has lingered on for months, McIlroy believes he can be a voice to help get that done.

Rory McIlroy tees off during the third round of the 2024 Masters.
Rory McIlroy may be soon returning to the PGA Tour Policy Board, replacing Webb Simpson. / Katie Goodale, Katie Goodale / USA TODAY

“I think I can be helpful. I don't think there's been much progress made in the last eight months, and I was hopeful that there would be,” McIlroy said at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, where he is playing the team event with Shane Lowry. “I think I could be helpful to the process.

“But only if people want me involved, I guess. When Webb (Simpson) and I talked and he talked about potentially coming off the board, I said, look, if it was something that other people wanted, I would gladly take that seat, and that was the conversation that we had.”

The Guardian reported Monday that Simpson plans to resign his seat and he had discussed with McIlroy taking his place. The move would need to be approved by the rest of the board.

McIlroy reiterated his view that the game needs to come together.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I think it’s the only way forward for the game of golf.”

And to achieve that, McIlroy believes compromise is in order. The PGA Tour-PIF divide—and LIV Golf’s role in it—seems to come down to several factors. How would LIV Golf look as part of PGA Tour Enterprises? Would it remain a separate league? Would LIV players be able to compete in PGA Tour events? Would there be a separate, Champions League-like competition for all of golf—as McIlroy has proposed?

“Try to articulate your points as well as you can and try to help people see the benefits of what unification could do for the game and what it could do for this tour in particular,” McIlroy said. “We obviously realize the game is not unified right now for a reason, and there's still some hard feelings and things that need to be addressed, but I think at this point for the good of the game, we all need to put those feelings aside and all move forward together.”

McIlroy said he originally left because he felt it could help him concentrate more on his game and devote more time to his family. The current landscape has taken up considerable time for all board members, he said.

“But I feel like I can be helpful,” he said. ”I feel like I can be helpful. I feel like I care a lot, and I have some pretty good experience and good connections within the game and sort of around the wider sort of ecosystem and everything that's going on.

“But at the end of the day, it's not quite up to me to just come back on the board. There's a process that has to be followed. But I'm willing to do it if that's what people want, I guess.”

 


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Bob Harig

BOB HARIG

Bob Harig is a senior golf writer for Sports Illustrated. He has more than 25 years experience covering golf, including 15 at ESPN. Bob is a regular guest on Sirius XM PGA Tour Radio and has written two books, DRIVE: The Lasting Legacy of Tiger Woods and Tiger and Phil: Golf's Most Fascinating Rivalry. He graduated from Indiana University where he earned an Evans Scholarship, named in honor of the great amateur golfer Charles (Chick) Evans Jr. Bob, a former president of the Golf Writers Association of America, lives in Clearwater, Florida.