Five big reasons why Rory McIlroy has left the PGA Tour policy board

Following his shock departure from the PGA Tour policy board, GolfMagic takes a look at five potential reasons why Rory McIlroy has made the call.

Johnny Percival's picture
Wed, 15 Nov 2023
Five reasons why Rory McIlroy has left the PGA Tour board

Rory McIlroy might be the busiest man in golf, but with the news last night he has resigned from the PGA Tour policy board, he will now have more time on his hands. 

McIlroy's abrupt departure from the PGA Tour policy board comes after he has served for five years, which have been some of the most turbulent in the game's history.

The Ulsterman initially served two years on the Player Advisory Council (PAC), one year as PAC chairman and then two further years as the first international golfer to serve on the board of directors at the PGA Tour. 

From the introduction of LIV to the launching of TGL and the PGA Tour's looming merger with the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), there has seemingly been drama at every turn for Rory McIlroy

So to really dig down into why McIlroy has decided now is the best time to remove his seat from the PGA Tour table, we have narrowed his reasons down to five.

Let's get into it.

Why has Rory McIlroy left the PGA Tour's policy board?

1. Tiger Woods is taking the helm

Earlier this year, Tiger Woods joined the PGA Tour policy board as one of six playing directors alongside McIlroy, Patrick Cantlay, Charlie Hoffman, Peter Malnati and Webb Simpson

The six playing directors are on the board to give players a stronger say in the decisions made by the PGA Tour.

One particular piece of policy the players will have a direct hand in will be the decision to either approve or deny any potential changes to the Tour that will be made as part of the framework deal with the PIF.

This decision is going to be one of the biggest in the PGA Tour's history, and with Woods now on board, McIlroy may have seen it as the opportune time to bow out. 

It is no secret that Woods is the most influential player on the PGA Tour, but in his absence, that responsibility fell squarely on McIlroy's shoulders.

Now Woods is on board, it would appear McIlroy has decided he can take the reigns.

With a little more time on his hands these days, perhaps Woods, who turns 48 on December 30, has whispered in McIlroy's ear: "Good work. I'll take this from here, bro."

2. PIF merger is going to happen, and he doesn't like the sound of it

The PGA Tour's planned merger with PIF shocked fans and players around the world when the news broke earlier this year. 

It's been reported that very few people knew about the proposed deal, and apparently, McIlroy wasn't one of them. Having been incredibly outspoken about his backing of the PGA Tour and disliking of the PIF-funded LIV Golf League the past 18 months, McIlroy was put in an awkward spot when the organisation he had been defending now appeared to be getting into bed with those of which he had been highly critical. 

Not only had the PGA Tour seemingly wholly changed their mind about having Saudi involvement in the league, but they had also worked incredibly hard to keep the Northern Irishman from joining LIV for what would have been an eye-watering sum of money. 

Now, we obviously can't speak on McIlroy's behalf, but if we had turned down vast sums of cash in order to protect the PGA Tour and then seen that same Tour team up with the organisation we had been told never to join, we might be a little bit frustrated. 

With Dustin Johnson and Cameron Smith having earned a king's ransom from joining LIV, to then see their rights on the PGA Tour potentially reinstated only two years later must be a hard pill to swallow for McIlroy after all of the hard work and public appearances he made to defend the PGA Tour. 

McIlroy made it very clear during his DP World Tour Championship press conference yesterday that he was "not particularly" enjoying his role on the PGA Tour Board. 

That made us all stop and think. Some 12 hours later it was then confirmed by PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan that McIlroy was indeed stepping down from his role

McIlroy looked and sounded frustrated during his latest press conference ahead of the DP World Tour season finale where he will collect a fifth Race to Dubai title this Sunday. 

Even if the PIF / PGA Tour framework agreement does pass through the courts, McIlroy admits "it's not a sure thing"

3. Focus on his golf and win another major (with all focus on completing the career grand slam at The Masters) 

By his own accord, McIlroy gave his 2023 season performance a 7/10. We can't help but think if McIlroy hadn't been fighting fires on the PGA Tour's behalf and attending meetings Jon Rahm claims are seven to eight hours long, he could have instead been more focused on his golf.

With that being said, McIlroy's reason for leaving the policy board could have been purely golf-based. The four-time major champion has made no secret of his desire to win more major tournaments in his career, especially a certain Green Jacket at The Masters in April, and now, with more time on his hands and less drama to deal with, he should be able to give more time to his game.

Maybe now really is the time for McIlroy, 34, to let his talking be done on the golf course instead of in the board room or worrying about what he should or should not be saying in press conferences. 

4. More time with his family

On the same day as his departure from the PGA Tour policy board was confirmed, a report also emerged in the Telegraph that he and his wife Erica, and their three-year-old daughter Poppy are planning on a permanent move back to the UK

Not yet, but apparently soon, with London said to be the overwhelming favourite. 

Having a young child is a burden on any parent, but perhaps McIlroy has decided now is the right time to take a step back from his responsibilities with the PGA Tour to not only move closer to home but also prioritise time with his family. 

It's no secret McIlroy has found the last few years on Tour stressful, and now, due to his decision to step down from the policy board, he has one less thing to worry about and can focus more on what matters most to him. 

5. The TGL

McIlroy has always been a man who spins a number of plates, and now, with the launch of TGL, the virtual golf league he has set up with Woods, he has seen his umbrella of responsibility grow even larger. 

The TGL has been launched in partnership with the PGA Tour, and McIlroy is not only the founder but also the captain of his own team, Boston Common. That in itself will come with added responsibilities. 

McIlroy will undoubtedly want TGL to be a huge success and help draw the spotlight away from the PGA Tour's rival LIV Golf League, so his stepping down from the board has come at the ideal time for him to focus on his new league ahead of its Jan. 2024 launch. 

What do you make of McIlroy's decision to remove his seat from the PGA Tour table? Will it make a difference to his golf game in 2024? How successful will TGL be? Share your comments over on the GolfMagic social media channels.

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