"You say all this s***!" Rory McIlroy accuses fellow pro of "slap in the face"

Rory McIlroy has conceded the PGA Tour membership is not united after huge LIV Golf-prompted changes were made to the 2024 schedule.

Ben Smith's picture
Tue, 7 Mar 2023
"You say all this s***!" Rory McIlroy accuses fellow pro of "slap in the face"

Rory McIlroy says the PGA Tour is 'not unified' right now as he once again defended the no-cut, limited-field events planned for 2024 and called out James Hahn for not attending a meeting. 

McIlroy is at TPC Sawgrass ahead of The Players Championship

He was at a players' only meeting on Tuesday where he revealed the temperature inside the room was nowhere near as hot as he had anticipated. 

Several players decided to skip the meeting. One of them was Jon Rahm, although he said he wanted to spend time with his family. 

Rahm admitted he still believes the PGA Tour is the best place to play professional golf but also hinted players could be briefed sooner about any changes and with more clarity. 

The Spaniard claimed that he found out about the huge changes to the designated events through the media. 

McIlroy also heavily criticised Hahn after the journeyman pro claimed he 'hated' the changes but then reportedly didn't turn up to the meeting.  

As for McIlroy, he said of the meeting:

"Yeah, so I think when more information and data was presented to them, the people that maybe had reservations about it I think came around, or at least were more informed on their opinions, right.
"I think the tour executives did a really good job of basically just walking them through the slides that we saw in the board meeting last Tuesday, obviously not to the same degree of detail.
"We were in that board meeting for almost seven hours last Tuesday." 

McIlroy continued: 

"Obviously we're all here trying to get ready for one of the biggest tournaments of the year [here].
"So with that time crunch, we just sort of took the -- or they took the sort of most important slides and showed them to the membership.
"Yeah, I think it was good for them to see that and to see what the thinking is behind what we're really trying to do here.
"I think the temperature in the room was nowhere near as hot as I anticipated it to be once the information was sort of laid out."

McIlroy was part of a players' only meeting last August before the PGA Tour's playoffs. 

Tiger Woods flew in for that meeting as the elite players discussed a path forward in response to the LIV Golf League

McIlroy described that meeting as 'very self-serving' but now believes the structure is vastly improved. 

He said: 

"Yeah, so I said this in the meeting today. The presentation in Delaware was very self-serving for the 20 players in that room. We were looking at fields of 50 to 60.
"We were looking at only 10 players dropping out of that top 50 every year, so a retention rate of 80 percent.
"The tour were like, look, the typical retention rate for the top 50 has historically been around 60 percent, so let's try to get back to that number.
"So the structure that has been rolled out here is vastly different from the one that we all talked about and the guys saw in Delaware, and I think for the betterment of everyone.
"I think if we had have went down that road, it doesn't serve the membership anywhere near as well as what this structure does."

McIlroy also made the concession that the emergence of LIV Golf has benefitted every professional golfer. 

The Northern Irishman said the PGA Tour wasn't just competing with their Saudi-backed rival, though. 

He said:

"I'm not going to sit here and lie; I think the emergence of LIV or the emergence of a competitor to the PGA Tour has benefited everyone that plays elite professional golf.
"I think when you've been the biggest golf league in the biggest market in the world for the last 60 years, there's not a lot of incentive to innovate.
"This has caused a ton of innovation at the PGA Tour, and what was quite, I would say, an antiquated system is being revamped to try to mirror where we're at in the world in the 21st century with the media landscape and just every -- you know, the PGA Tour isn't just competing with LIV Golf or other sports.
"It's competing with Instagram and TikTok and everything else that's trying to take eyeballs away from the PGA Tour as a product.
"So, yeah, you know, LIV coming along, it's definitely had a massive impact on the game, but I think everyone who's a professional golfer is going to benefit from it going forward."

"He knew that decision had consequences"

The Players Championship will be without its defending champion Cameron Smith

Smith bolted from the PGA Tour last summer for a mind-boggling fee thought to be north of $100m 

The Australian has joked that he still might turn up as a spectator. McIlroy said of the absent reigning champion:

"Yeah, I think, would it be better if the defending champion was here this week? Absolutely.
"But he made a decision that he felt was the best thing for him, and he knew that decision was going to come with consequences, and one of the consequences is right now not being able to play on the PGA Tour.

McIlroy also was asked about James Hahn's comments. 

Hahn said he 'hated' the changes in an extraordinary Golfweek interview

McIlroy said of Hahn:

"Like, you say all this s--- and you're not even in the meeting? If you want to get informed and be a part of the process—the fact that he wasn't even in the room was a slap in the face to everyone there."

Next page: PGA Tour pro rips elevated event changes