Rory McIlroy’s heard it all before and believes talk of a new ‘world golf tour’ is not the right step forward for the sport.
The golf world again seems to be in damage-control mode with talk of a ‘breakaway’ tour featuring the game’s elite players competing for even bigger prize purses than they are already.
The new so-called Premier Golf League (PGL) would comprise 18 annual events and feature the world’s top 48 players.
McIlroy was asked his reaction at last week’s Farmers Insurance Open where he kick-started his new season sharing third place at Torrey Pines.
“Those guys have been talking to a few of us for six years,” he said.
“They approached me at the end of 2014. You know, it’s a hard one. I think it’s — like I love the PGA Tour but they definitely, these guys have exploited a couple of holes in the system the way that — the way golf at the highest level is nowadays and how it’s sort of transitioned from a competition tour to entertainment, right?
“It’s on TV, it’s people coming out to watch. It’s definitely different for me than what it was before.
“I love the PGA Tour, I love the way golf is set up right now, so it might be that — it might be the catalyst for something a little bit different out here as well, who knows.
“I certainly wouldn’t want to lose what’s been built in the last 40 or 50 years, tournaments like this, tournaments like Riviera in a couple weeks’ time, everything that we have gotten to know and love over the years.”
The PGL released a statement declaring: “We would like to say that it is our intention to work with, rather than challenge, existing tours for the betterment of golf as a sport, pastime and media property.”
However, McIlroy’s clearly not too excited about the prospect, so much so, he put himself on record, insisting the PGL is not the way forward.
“I’m still quite a traditionalist, so to have that much of an upheaval in the game I don’t think is the right step forward,” he said.
“As I said, it might be a catalyst for some changes on this tour that can help it grow and move forward and, you know, reward the top players the way they should be, I guess.”
The PGA Tour was asked to comment and it did by releasing the following ‘no comment’ statement.
“We don’t comment on the business of other tours, real or hypothetical. We’re focused on our business.”