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06th Mar 2020

Rory McIlroy has no time for the Premier Golfing League and commands respect for it

Niall McIntyre

On the face of it, the Premier Golfing League looks an idealised paradise.

The world’s best golfers, shooting it out every other weekend for a greater slice of the money each time. The top 48 get the privileges they deserve and spectators get to see them, in all their glory over all the best courses.

The perfect world, right? What more could the game want? In reality, the Premier Golfing League appears to be more of an exclusive upper-class club that protects the rich and upsets the poor.

It would be very easy for the world’s top 48, with their positions safeguarded and their millions guaranteed, to come out and back this thing until it comes in, but what about loyalty to their peers? What about World number 49 and his ambitions of challenging himself against the best, week on week? If this mysterious, money backed status quo separator came in, those outside the top echelons would lead a very different life.

Scratch the surface of the Premier Golfing League, a plan dreamed up by the British based World Golf Group and all their millions, and it shows more blemishes than benefits.

As of yet, a number of pros have expressed interest in the breakaway tour, with Justin Rose admitting it has become a topic of discussion in the locker-room, but Rory McIlroy has no time for the competition and the exclusivity it advocates.

Rory McIlroy isn’t out to please anyone. The Northern Irish man shoots from the hip and while he didn’t rule it out immediately, the Down native has since come down, and come down hard on ethics and the wide-ranging control that it would exude.

McIlroy places a lot of value in “autonomy and freedom” that he currently has in arranging his schedule and choosing when and where to play, and doesn’t like the fact that the League would have control over his appearances.

“The more I’ve thought about it the more I don’t like it,” he said a few weeks ago. “For me, I’m out”

And on Thursday night, after yet another blistering opening round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, McIlroy dug his heels in once more.

“I didn’t really like where the money was coming from either,” he said matter-of-factly.

“And I wanted to be the first one to speak out against it, and I’m glad that I have.”

McIlroy could benefit a lot from the proposed dreamland. You’d have to admire his principles.

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