Why Rory McIlroy has a ‘selfish’ problem with golf schedule changes

Rory McIlroy says the rumored expansion of the fall schedule may have unintended consequences.

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Like everyone else walking on the face of this earth, Rory McIlroy has no problem making more money. But like everyone else walking on the face of this earth, he’s a file a little More complicated than that.

Yes, Rory admits, the proposed new fall schedule for the PGA Tour — which would alter the fall schedule in order to incorporate a series of high-profile teams — is a good idea for his bottom line. No doubt this series promises bigger wallets, fatter paychecks, and bigger paydays for everyone involved; A group consisting mainly of high earners in the game.

But the new Fall Series could also come at the expense of many of the 200 remaining single-card members of the Tour – original players Autumn series is designed for service.

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“What I’d like to see is the fall schedule is my favourite, but I guess that’s the tricky bit, right?” McIlroy said at Wells Fargo Wednesday. “You have 200 members no matter how you try to make everyone fairly happy. Some guys really like to play in the fall because they feel like they’re going to get a head start at FedExCup. Top players like to feel like they have time off to actually have a vacation and rest and get ready for next season.”

That outcome falls to Rory, chair of the Tour Players Advisory Board. The position was created to give players a greater platform in matters relating to the Tour, but this platform is not always useful. In the case of the proposed fall schedule, McIlroy navigates a phone booth: it’s his responsibility to protect his own interests, but profession to act against them.

“It’s hard. It’s very hard for me to stand here and say I’d like all the fall action to go away and play three or four of these proposed tournaments they’re thinking of because that’s good for me, but it’s not good for all the members so I should,” McIlroy said. I’m trying to look at things that will benefit the whole membership and the whole tour and not just what works for me or the big players.”

On the other hand, McIlroy says, it’s great that the fall schedule is helping its bottom line. And on the other hand, does he really need it?

“I think there are enough programs in place that are benefiting the big players right now, the PIP program, the Comcast Top-10, the FedExCup bonus, all of these things are designed to funnel more money into the pockets of the big players,” he said. “You play the best and the cream should rise to the top by the end of the year. This is why the Comcast Top-10 bonus money, FedExCup is so high. Then you add a PIP in there for the people who have the most impact on the tour.”

Of course, tour performance incentives You have Improved things for the game’s top players, but the fall series will change things in a way that PIP hasn’t. Unlike PIP (and its other dubious siblings), Autumn Series will take the money From Some PGA Tour components pockets, while others add up.

It hits McIlroy as antithetical to the purpose of the tour, but that might not matter to players facing potentially huge payouts from a new series.

“I think the big guys, we’ve got a lot of things our own way in the last two years,” he said. “I think talking about just cutting out the fall events for the guys who need it and need those opportunities would be very selfish.”

It is unusual in professional sports for a player to speak against their best interests – even rarer in a secular sport such as the PGA Tour. Will McIlroy’s words convince a broad cross-section of the top earners on the PGA Tour to reverse course? Almost certainly not. If the fall series fails, it won’t be because there aren’t enough people who signed up for the $20 million payday. But he talks about volumes that I think are long enough to try.

“It’s a delicate balance,” McIlroy said. “She’s always been on the tour with a membership that big because you’re trying to accommodate so many different people and so many different scenarios.”

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor
James Colgan is an associate editor at GOLF, contributing stories to the site and magazine. Hot Mic writes GOLF’s weekly media column, and uses his expertise in broadcasting across social media and the brand’s video platforms. James, who graduated in 2019 from Syracuse University — and obviously his golf course — still thawed four years ago in the snow. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a scholarship holder (and a smart looper) in Long Island, where he belongs. He can be reached at james.colgan@golf.com.

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