Rory McIlroy insists that the biggest tournaments in the world of golf need to be played in America but feels that tournaments in Ireland, the UK, Europe, Asia and further afield need to be elevated to be incorporated into a global schedule.
McIlroy said on Tuesday that his dream for golf was to have a truly global schedule. This is something that golf’s governing bodies will have to consider after Jon Rahm’s controversial move to LIV Golf and the merger talks between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and PIF being pushed back to April after they failed to reach an agreement by the December 31 2023 deadline.
“I think informally, we sort of have most of that global schedule, anyway. If you look at what all the tournaments that all the top players play, informally, sort of without any structure without it between a few different tours,” explained McIlroy ahead of his first DP World Tour start of the season at the inaugural Dubai Invitational.
“I think we have at least the majority of what a global tour would look like. We still need to make sure that the biggest tournaments are in America; obviously that’s the biggest place that we play.
“But also trying to elevate some of the other tournaments around the world: You know, trying to, Middle East, Continental Europe, U.K. and Ireland, the Far East, whether it be Japan, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, South Africa. I mean, you’ve got a lot of different opportunities there.
“I think if we really want to, if everyone is talking about growing the game and trying to, especially if these investors are going to come into our game and they want a return on their capital, I think everyone needs to start thinking more globally around it but globally in a holistic way but not really like this tour, that tour and another tour.
“Like, okay, what is the best — what is the best structure for elite professional golf, the top 70 to 100 guys in the world and what would that look like, especially if the game is going to look different going forward and everything is on the table. I just think it’s worth having that conversation.”
The Holywood clubman also believes corporate America needs to get involved and allow other golfing markets to thrive alongside the behemoth that has become the PGA Tour over the last three decades.
“The PGA TOUR has proved over the last 20 or 30 years that corporate America is interested in the game of golf for a number of different reasons, and America is still a huge market for our game. Because America has become such a huge market, it’s maybe not let other markets around the world thrive as well, and if we can sort of all start to work together a little bit more, I think a rising tide lists all ships or all boats, and that’s the mindset that I would, I guess, come to that thinking of what the best thing is for professional golf.”
Speaking on the Overlap podcast last week, McIlroy outlined his surprise that the PGA Tour has lasted this long under its current model where players are not obligated to turn up at events despite sponsors paying tens of millions to have their name alongside tournaments.
The term ‘independent contractor’ has regularly been used in the PGA Tour, LIV Golf feud since the inception of the Saudi backed tour in 2022 and McIlroy feels players would need to sign contracts to appear in the tournaments outside of America on this supposed global schedule.
“When you look at different sports and the media landscape and how much these media companies are paying for sporting events, I think you have to be able to guarantee them the product that they are paying for.
“So in my opinion, yeah, I would say that people would have to be contracted and sign up to a certain number of events every year; that the sponsors and media partners know that the guys they want to be there are going to be.”