McIlroy wants golf to mirror Champions League format

Ronan MacNamara
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Manchester United fan Rory McIlroy (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Ronan MacNamara

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As a Manchester United fan, a Champions League-style format for golf moving forward might be the closest Rory McIlroy gets to Europe’s premier football competition for a long time, but he feels it could be the ideal solution to the DP World Tour, PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund framework agreement.

The deadline for the initial framework agreement was for December 31 of last year but it has since been extended to April of this year and McIlroy has warned that golf could be “fractured forever” if the sport’s civil war continues.

The four-time major winner has resigned from the PGA Tour policy board and has no intention on trying to persuade golfers to follow his views but he believes one global top level tour with other feeder tours including promotion and relegation could be the way forward.

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“If you want to create something that is real value for the game of golf, I think it’s this top-level tour and then all the other tours feed into it,” he said ahead of the Dubai Desert Classic where he is the defending champion.

“There’s promotion and relegation and you have to earn your way in and you have to earn your spot to stay in. I think that’s really important, too.

“The way I view it is a bit like Champions League in football. It’s like the best of the best in Europe and then all of the other leagues feed up into it.

“I think it has to be global in nature. You need to figure out a structure where all these other tours feed into that so it gives people a chance to come up.”

While he is in front of a microphone, the Holywood clubman will continue to beat the drum over a global golf schedule and he views Adam Scott’s place on the PGA Tour board as crucial for any potential venture.

The Australian, who won the 2013 Masters feels that LIV is going to be moving forward no matter what.

“I think an unsettling thing for players currently is we don’t know what it’s going to look like and what it is going forward.

“That’s where you see players making decisions to move to LIV Golf or not to move to LIV with uncertainty and risk taking, and it would be nice to see some kind of clear vision of where the professional game is working towards soon.

“I think you’ve got to look at what’s here and now and the reality is that it seems LIV is going forward no matter what, and they have a considerable number of great players in the game.

“It’s really good getting to a place where we can at least operate and function. I think there’s got to be give and take on both sides for that to happen but hopefully that’s achievable.”

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