FRICO (Texas): Rory McIlroy has resigned from the PGA Tour’s Policy Board with the American circuit embroiled in high level negotiations over how to fund its future.
McIlroy’s shock decision was revealed in a memo to the tour’s players issued by commissioner Jay Monahan, who thanked the golfer “for his dedication and commitment to the tour”.
At a time of unprecedented rancour and uncertainty in the men’s professional game, McIlroy had been a steadfast critic of the Saudi Arabia funded breakaway LIV tour and was regarded as an arch PGA Tour loyalist.
But McIlroy revealed he felt like “a sacrificial lamb” after a secret framework agreement between the main US and European tours and the Saudi Public Investment Fund was announced in June this year.
Since then, the Northern Irishman has been more reluctant to comment on the ongoing negotiations to settle the game’s future. Meetings took place earlier this week to discuss potential funding from new investment partners.
McIlroy told reporters on Tuesday, “No one on the outside has any details. Loose lips sink ships, so we are trying to keep it tight and within walls. I’m sure when there’s news to tell, it will be told.”
But he gave no indication that he was about to step down from the Policy Board. Monahan’s memo later the same day confirmed the four-time major champion’s departure from one of the most influential positions in the game.
“Rory’s resignation letter, which he sent to the full board, clearly stated that the difficult decision was made due to professional and personal commitments,” Monahan wrote.
‘Rues’ US Open miss but happy with year: McIlroy had served on the tour’s Player Advisory Council between 2019 and 2021, acting as chairman for the final year of that spell. He then became a player director on the board.
“During his tenure, Rory’s insight has been instrumental in helping shape the success of the tour, and his willingness to thoughtfully voice his opinions has been especially impactful,” Monahan added.
“Given the extraordinary time and effort that Rory – and all his fellow player directors – have invested in 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.”
Masters champion Jon Rahm immediately ruled himself out as a candidate to replace McIlroy on the board.
“You won’t see me there,” the Spaniard said. “Absolutely no chance. I’ve been asked a couple times if I have any interest, and I’m not going to spend, I don’t know how many meetings they have, but they are six, seven, hour plus long.
“As regards to Rory, he’s obviously been put in a situation where a lot has been expected of him, and I don’t know the exact reason why he left the board.
“But I certainly wouldn’t blame somebody like him to just want to focus a bit more on his game and his family and enjoy the bit of time he’s truly earned. Again, it’s a big commitment for somebody to be part of it.”
McIlroy’s management declined to comment on his resignation when approached by BBC Sport. ‑BBC