Rory McIlroy's controversial decision? PGA Tour pros: "He knew what was coming!"

Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele, Joel Dahmen and Rickie Fowler have discussed Rory McIlroy's eyebrow-raising decision.

Ben Smith's picture
Fri, 14 Apr 2023
Rory McIlroy's controversial decision? PGA Tour pros: "He knew what was coming!"

Rory McIlroy's controversial decision to skip the RBC Heritage after a miserable Masters has drawn little sympathy from fellow PGA Tour pros Joel Dahmen, Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele. 

McIlroy, 33, missed the cut at Augusta National to ensure another 12-month wait before he attempts the career grand slam once again. 

The Ulsterman then made the shock decision to withdraw from this week's designated PGA Tour event. 

His decision was surprising given that McIlroy and Tiger Woods essentially spearheaded the circuit's response to LIV Golf

It will come as absolutely no surprise that one of the responses to counter their Saudi-backed rival was money. And lots of it. 

The designated events ushered in a completely new era for the PGA Tour. 

Huge prize purse events were announced along with a guarantee the top stars will be in attendance. Next year, they will only be available to a select few and with the absence of a 36-hole cut. 

Dahmen, Thomas and Schauffele spoke to Alex Miceli of SI about McIlroy's pre-tournament withdrawal. 

McIlroy - who was the subject of this fierce criticism from his former agent - was docked $3m from his 2022 player impact program bonus.

If you don't know what that is, it's essentially just a social media popularity contest designed to handsomely reward tour's best players. 

Woods has won $23m so far, though that is hardly surprising given he is the needle mover despite being barely able to walk these days.

Joel Dahmen:

"I feel like Rory was leading the charge on the changes that have been made and he helped make the rules
"He knew what the rules were. So, he knew what was coming. He also has so much money, he doesn't care about $3m" 

Xander Schauffele:

"Rules are the rules. So, I mean, for the most part, a lot of what he wanted is what's happening. And the irony is that he's not here." 

Justin Thomas:

"It doesn't matter who you are, that's a ton of money. All of us knew going into the year what the situation was and what we had to do to get extra X or Y and for him Y is a lot in this situation, finishing second.
"So, it wasn't a surprise to him or any of us it just was kind of where he ended up in the rankings and not playing this week is I guess a consequence."

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has previously stated he has discretion over Woods' bonus cash. 

Monahan has previously said Woods wouldn't be docked cash given that he's physically unable to compete in every designated event. 

There could be a way for McIlroy to earn back what he has been docked. Rickie Fowler just wants transparency over what Monahan decides.

He also told SI:

"I think that's a big thing that's been talked about for the last year, is having more transparency and just good communication between players the tour.
"I think that includes you [media] as well. And ultimately, the more transparency and the more everyone's on the same page, the better."

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