McIlroy says ‘something had to give’ after resignation
Rory McIlroy said “something had to give” as he explained his surprise decision to step down from the PGA Tour’s Policy Board this week.
McIlroy was arguably golf’s most influential player as the game wrestled with the arrival of the breakaway LIV circuit, which has just completed its second season.
The Northern Irishman led the PGA Tour’s response and, along with Tiger Woods, helped draw up plans that included a string of lucrative tournaments aimed at halting the flow of top stars defecting to the Saudi Arabia-funded LIV project.
After his first round at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, McIlroy admitted his decision to step down had been brewing for some time.
“It has,” he told BBC Sport. “Something had to give. There’s only so many hours in the day and so many days in the week and I’ve got a lot going on in my life right now.
“Between trying to be a world-class golfer and trying to be a good husband and a good father, I’ve got a growing investment portfolio that’s taking up more of my time.
“I’m involved with TGL (the Tech-infused Golf League with Woods) and so I’ve got a lot going on. With the Policy Board stuff, it has taken more of my time than ever this year.”
McIlroy said the secret talks involving the PGA and DP World Tours with the Saudi Public Investment Fund, and subsequently resulting in a shock announcement of a framework agreement between the parties at the beginning June, altered his attitude towards his role.
“I stepped up and spoke out about something I believed in,” he told reporters.
“Obviously, the landscape changed on June 6th with that announcement and I felt like from then on I was playing a lesser part because of the decisions that were made.”
McIlroy’s departure from the board comes in a delicate period, with the PGA Tour weighing up other potential investment deals while trying to conclude the Saudi deal.
“There’s been a lot of time spent on this over the past few weeks with different investor groups and meeting different people that are interested,” he added.
“I like being busy but I like being busy doing my own thing – and it just got to the point where I just couldn’t fit it all in.
“I’m thinking as we go into the next year, as I try to get ramped up for Augusta and all those tournaments, I just can’t see me putting the time and the energy into it.
“It’s a big decision and if I feel like I’m not prepared going into those meetings then it is better off if someone else takes my place, who is able to put the time and the energy into it.”
The 34-year-old also revealed there are differing views on the board, which includes Woods as well as US Ryder Cup player Patrick Cantlay – someone McIlroy has admitted sees the world differently to him.
“I think when you get into a room people have got different views and different opinions on what should happen,” he said. “Certainly, I had my views and my opinions, some people agreed and some people didn’t.
“But that’s the nature of where we are at and that’s the nature of sitting on a board. Not everyone is going to agree on everything. You have to try to compromise and try to come up with the best solution.
“I’m pretty happy with the direction of travel. It’s just a matter of trying to get the thing done as fast as possible.”
McIlroy served on the tour’s Player Advisory Council between 2019 and 2021 and was chairman for the final year of that spell. He then graduated to a player director on the board.
“I enjoyed it, it was an education,” he said. “I was in the room with a lot of very, very smart people.
“I was appreciative of the opportunity and got to work with a lot of great people and hopefully that’ll stand me in good stead with whatever I decide to do in the future.”
McIlroy was speaking after a one-under-par 71 in his first competitive round since the Ryder Cup six weeks ago.
He admitted it was a “very lucky” finish to his round after his drive bounced out of the creek that bisects the 18th fairway.
The Northern Irishman’s second shot then ricocheted out of the water hazard again, this time landing on a footbridge before spinning back to the edge of the fairway.
From there he completed an adventurous par that left him four shots off the lead.
“Honestly I was happy enough to just get in under par because it was quite scrappy on the back nine,” McIlroy admitted.
“I felt like I was just sort of hanging on for the last few holes.”