How united is golf really after Rory McIlroy steps down from PGA board position

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy has stepped down from his position of the PGA Tour’s policy board this week – just as it seems golf is moving towards unity.

McIlroy was considered to be the public face of the PFA Tour’s battle with LIV Golf.

In the summer of 2022, he and Tiger Woods organised a player-driven movement that reorganised the circuit and prevented more player departures.

Putting himself out there in the game’s civil war came at a cost, both mentally and physically, which McIlroy said he was still dealing with this year.

Therefore, McIlroy acknowledged feeling betrayed when the tour revealed in June an unexpected alliance with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, the LIV Golf’s backer—a deal that he was not involved in.

“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 RBC Canadian Open.

Still, McIlroy served on the tour’s policy board all summer and gave encouraging remarks this week regarding the future of the now-unified professional game.

“If you were in the middle of it, you would see that there’s a path forward,” McIlroy said. “It’s just that no one on the outside has any details. Loose lips sink ships, so we are trying to keep it tight and within walls. I’m sure when there’s news to tell, it will be told.”

The PGA Tour have stressed that the personal and professional engagements of McIlroy were his chief concern as they downplayed any notion of a new rift in the sport.

“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,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement to the New York Times.

Mohahan has also moved to address rumours that the deal with the Saudi PIF may well fall apart.

“Progress has been deliberate given the complex nature of the potential agreement, and we will keep you apprised of the progress, with continued input and direction from your player directors and player advisor Colin Neville,” Monahan wrote in a memo to address members.

The PGA would later address McIlroy’s resignation from the policy board.

“Rory’s resignation letter, which he sent to the board late this afternoon, clearly stated that the difficult decision was made due to professional and personal commitments,” Monahan said in another memo to members.