Amidst unprecedented change and expansion for professional golf in the last few years, Rory McIlroy — one of the players at the center of it — is taking a step back.
Late Tuesday, the PGA Tour announced that McIlroy resigned his position as a player director on the Tour’s Policy Board. The 34-year-old served on the Board for two years following a three-year stint on the Player Advisory Council.
“Given the extraordinary time and effort that Rory – and all of his fellow Player Directors – have invested in the TOUR during this unprecedented, transformational period in our history, we certainly understand and respect his decision to step down in order to focus on his game and his family,” Commissioner Jay Monahan wrote in a memo to players.
Tiger Woods, Patrick Cantlay, Charley Hoffman, Peter Malnati and Webb Simpson remain as player directors on the Policy Board, and they will elect McIlroy’s successor to serve the rest of his term, which expires at the end of 2024.
“During his tenure, Rory’s insight has been instrumental in helping shape the success of the TOUR, and his willingness to thoughtfully voice his opinion has been especially impactful,” Monahan added in the memo.
McIlroy was one of the most ardent supporters of the PGA Tour following the emergence of LIV Golf, which fractured the professional golf world. Since then, the Tour tentatively agreed to a merger with the DP World Tour and LIV’s financial backer, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
McIlroy and his fellow player directors were not involved in the backroom deal that aims to bring pro golf back together — just one of the reasons why it is now seemingly falling apart ahead of its Dec. 31 deadline, as reported by Front Office Sports in October.
“Not what I signed (up) for whenever I went on the Board,” said McIlroy at this week’s DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. “The game of professional golf has been in flux for the last two years.”
However, even as he cedes control and as other investors close in on potential investment in the Tour, McIlroy has somewhat changed his tune on Saudi money: “When this is all said and done, I sincerely hope the PIF are involved and we can bring the game of golf back together,” he said recently.