McIlroy misses out on PGA Tour board return: ‘It got pretty messy’

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McIlroy misses out on PGA Tour board return: ‘It got pretty messy’

Rory McIlroy has surprisingly revealed he will not be making an imminent return to the PGA Tour’s policy board after “pretty messy” conversations about going back into the role reopened “old wounds”.

McIlroy joined the Player Advisory Council in 2019 and then served on the PGA Tour’s policy board from 2021 to last November, when he resigned after citing concerns over the time and energy he had to commit to the role.

Webb Simpson reportedly offered his resignation as a player director last month and requested his place was taken by McIlroy, who told Sky Sports at the time he was ‘happy to do his bit’ to try and help ongoing negotiations to unify the men’s game.

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McIlroy and Shane Lowry celebrated their Zurich Classic of New Orleans victory in style with an impressive rendition of ‘Don’t Stop Believin!’

McIlroy’s reappointment was subject to a vote from board members, with the former world No 1 suggesting that some were “uncomfortable” by the prospect of his potential return.

“There’s been a lot of conversations,” McIlroy admitted ahead of the Wells Fargo Championship, beginning on Thursday and live on Sky Sports, where he is a three-time winner. “Sort of reminded me partly why I didn’t [serve on the board]!

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McIlroy hopes his victory at the Zurich Classic will help propel him to more victories this season

“I think it got pretty complicated and pretty messy and I think with the way it happened, I think it opened up some old wounds and scar tissue from things that have happened before.

“There was a subset of people on the board that were maybe uncomfortable with me coming back on for some reason. I think the best course of action is if there are some people on there that aren’t comfortable with me coming back on, then Webb just stays on and sees out his term.

“I think he [Webb] has gotten to a place where he’s comfortable with doing that and I just sort of keep doing what I’m doing.

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“I put my hand up to help and it was — I wouldn’t say it was rejected, it was a complicated process to get through to put me back on there. So that’s all fine, no hard feelings and we’ll all move on.”

What’s next for golf?

The offer to rejoin the policy board came as negotiations between the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) over the shock Framework Agreement announced last June were understood to be stalling, with no expected resolution date publicly announced.

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A look back on how McIlroy’s stance on LIV Golf appears to have changed over the course of the last two years

McIlroy compared the need for the deal to be finalised to that of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, which ended three decades of conflict in his home country, with the Northern Irishman left frustrated at the time it has taken to unify the men’s game.

“I would say I’m impatient because I think we’ve got this window of opportunity to get it done,” McIlroy explained. “Both sides from a business perspective I wouldn’t say need to get it done, but it makes sense.

“It’s probably not going to feel great for either side, but if it’s a place where the game of golf starts to thrive again and we can all get back together, then I think that’s ultimately a really good thing.”

Simpson is now expected to serve out the remainder of his term on the policy board, with McIlroy backing the former major winner’s decision to continue and hopeful a deal can still be reached.

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McIlroy has dismissed a report last month about his impending move to LIV Golf and confirmed he will remain on the PGA Tour in the future

“I’m still optimistic [on a deal being done],” McIlroy added. “I think Webb [Simpson] staying on is a really good thing. I think he’s got a really balanced voice in all of this and I think he sees the bigger picture, which is great.

“My fear was if Webb stepped off and it wasn’t me that was going in his place, what could potentially happen. Yeah, I’m really happy that Webb has made that decision to stay on and serve out the rest of his term.

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“I think there’s a responsibility with every generation to try to leave the PGA Tour, leave the place that you’re playing in a bit of a better spot than it was before. That’s what it’s about.”

Who will win the Wells Fargo Championship? Watch early coverage on Thursday from 4pm on Sky Sports Golf, ahead of full coverage from 6pm. Stream the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, majors and more with NOW.

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