The PGA Tour’s ‘designated events’ won’t be a closed shop according to Rory McIlroy

Mark McGowan

Rory McIlroy (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Mark McGowan

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Rory McIlroy, who was instrumental in the implementation of the PGA Tour’s ‘designated events’ has assured his fellow tour members that those outside the bubble will have the opportunity to play their way in.

Speaking in his pre-tournament press conference at this week’s Genesis Invitational at L.A.’s Riviera Country Club, McIlroy like Tiger Woods the day before, was asked if there were mixed emotions in the locker room regarding the elevated series of tournaments.

“Yeah, so the feedback is I would say similar to what Tiger said yesterday. It’s the top half of the membership being really happy that they’re in them and, but then the guys maybe on the outside looking in being worried about if they’re always going to be on the outside looking in.

“I think that the big thing has been, is this going to be like a closed shop for the same guys every single week, and it’s not. This tour was built on meritocracy. This tour was built on if you shoot the scores, you can move up the levels and play the biggest events. That’s not going to be taken away.”

The designated event series will see the PGA Tour’s star players tee it up against one another with much more regularity than in years gone by, with 12 regular tour stops given ‘designated event’ status, in addition to the four major championships. This is something that McIlroy feels will maximise the potential of the PGA Tour as a product, though calling it a ‘product’ is something he admits he’s loathe to do.

“The best players should be playing in them,” he said, “because ultimately the PGA TOUR needs to be built around the best players because that’s what will maximise the value of the product. But that doesn’t mean that there’s not great storylines further down that list, which we’re all very cognizant of.

“I’ve had tons of conversations with guys that are worried about what events they’re going to play next year and all that. The one thing I said, look, no one’s trying to screw the bottom half of the tour here. If anything, we’re trying to lift it up. We’re trying to — if you have a, you know, I hate calling it a product, but a product that this year’s forecast to do $2 billion in gross revenue, you’re trying to grow that product as much as possible.

“So the way I’ve tried to describe it is if you look at like the NBA’s trajectory over the last 20 years, they’ve built that league around their best players and their stars, not around the 12th guy on the team, but because they’ve built that league up around the stars, the 12th guy on the team does way better than he used to. So that’s sort of the way I’ve been trying to tell it.

“Does it mean that the Tour’s going to get more competitive? Yes. Does it mean that instead of — even look at the Playoffs, like 125 used to make the Playoffs, now it’s 70. It’s just become a more competitive product. I think honestly that’s a good thing.”

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