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Monday, January 18, 2021

McIlroy backs European and PGA Tour alliance

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Rory McIlroy believes the recent announcement of a strategic alliance between the European Tour and PGA Tour is “massive step in the right direction” for the game of golf.

The landmark agreement will see golf’s two major Tours explore all facets of collaboration, working together on strategic commercial opportunities including collaborating on global media rights in certain territories. It sees the PGA Tour acquire a minority investment stake in European Tour Productions (ETP), the European Tour’s Media Production company, which produces and distributes content internationally. The deal will also see PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan take a seat on the Board of the European Tour.

The agreement also serves to safeguard the future of both Tours, particularly given recent interest from the Raine Group’s proposed Premier Golf League. McIlroy had been an early critic of the PGL, coming out against the move by suggesting players would no longer have ownership of their schedule should such a takeover happen. However, unlike the negatives McIlroy expressed concern about with regards to the PGL proposal, he sees no such downsides with the new alliance between the tours.

“I liked it,” McIlroy told GolfWeek. “Golf needs to be more cohesive, we all need to be pulling in the same direction. If this alliance can be done in the right way, I think it provides a better pathway for Europeans to get on the PGA Tour. I can’t see any negatives with it.

“I obviously saw a lot of negatives in the other proposal put to the European Tour by Raine Group and Premier Golf League. I felt like I was one of the players who could see this objectively because I still have a long runway in my career and, you know, I’m going to make money regardless.

“What is better for the game? I can’t see how a big part of the top level of golf being controlled by a private equity group is good for the game. I just can’t see how that works. I’m totally behind what happened. There’s still a lot of details to be hashed out, but it’s a massive step in the right direction.”

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