Rory McIlroy has seemingly broken a new golden PGA Tour rule where its designated events are concerned by skipping a second tournament of the season at this week's RBC Heritage at Hilton Head.
The PGA Tour communications team confirmed the news on social media this afternoon, just two days removed from McIlroy missing the halfway cut at The Masters for a third time in his career and a second in the last three years.
McIlroy has yet to give a reason for his WD.
Rory McIlroy is a WD from the RBC Heritage. The field is now 143.— PGA TOUR Communications (@PGATOURComms) April 10, 2023
WDs will not be replaced by alternates unless needed to fill the field of 132.
Under the new designated events structure put forward by PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan last summer, he explained all top players would be required to compete in all 13 designated / elevated events for which they have qualified in order to be eligible for payments under the huge $100m Player Impact Program for 2023.
That was then changed to 'players can choose to skip one tournament'.
Here's all you need to know about the PGA Tour's new designated events.
Monahan was further pressed on what would happen should players such as McIlroy miss multiple designated events in January this year, and he gave a touchy response:
As for Tiger Woods' eligibility for PIP money this year as a result of his very limited playing schedule in 2023, Monahan said:
But let's be honest, Tiger is the needle right?!
The new designated events were put in place in a bid to keep the world's best PGA Tour players on side and prevent any of them from thinking twice about moving over to the Saudi-bankrolled LIV Golf League.
But McIlroy has already broken the golden rule as it marks the second time he has bypassed a desginated event on the PGA Tour schedule this year.
McIlroy chose not to compete in the year-opening Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii back in January.
So the question now remains, are other big-name PGA Tour stars allowed to skip more than one designated event?
Or is McIlroy making the rules?
McIlroy has played in seven PGA Tour events so far this season, earning three top-10 finishes and a victory at the CJ Cup.
This week marks a seventh desginated event of the season, and McIlroy has played in five of them.
McIlroy finished T32 at the Phoenix Open, T29 at the Genesis Invitational, T2 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, missed the cut at The Players Championship, third at the WGC Match Play Championship and missed the cut at The Masters.
The Northern Irishman has accumulated $15.5m in PIP money in his career so far.
This week's RBC Heritage is one of the PGA Tour's new designated events on the schedule with a huge $20m purse on the line, and as a result it has attracted its strongest ever field. Just McIlroy won't be in town.
One player who will have no say in the PIP money at the end of this season is current World No.8 Will Zalatoris as the 26-year-old American ruled himself out of the season due to back surgery.
The PGA Tour has yet to comment on what McIlroy's WD means for the desginated events structure moving forwards in 2023.
If McIlroy can get away with skipping two events, then others will surely be raising questions now?
However, it must be said that when the PGA Tour outlined its designated events for 2024, officials dropped the requirement for players to compete in all of them in order to remain eligible for the PIP. So maybe they're bringing that plan forward 12 months?
Let's see how the PGA Tour responds...