There’s never a dull moment with Rory McIlroy, is there?
Given that the Northern Irishman had already won the Race to Dubai – or the order of merit in old money – many were thinking that the recent DP World Tour Championship would be something of an anti-climax.
But on the eve of the $10 million showpiece at the Jumeirah Golf Estates, eye-opening confirmation came through that McIlroy had resigned from his powerful position on the PGA Tour’s policy board.
His memo to the U.S. circuit’s head honcho, Jay Monahan, came as a bit of a bombshell.
McIlroy has been heavily embroiled on the frontline of golf’s power struggle over the last two tumultuous years, and he has made no secret of the fact that the attritional struggle involving the established tours and the LIV Golf rebellion has left him battle-fatigued. No wonder.
One high-powered meeting that he was involved in during the week of a tournament at the height of the strife rumbled on for seven hours.
It’s clear that McIlroy wants to concentrate on doing what he does best – thwacking a little ball around a glorified field – rather than be bogged down in the mire of heated meetings and lengthy phone calls that have become par for the course.
When the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and the Saudi Public Investment Fund, which bankrolls the LIV series, stunned the golfing world by calling an armistice and unveiling a framework agreement to work together, McIlroy was left as gobsmacked as everybody else.
Rory McIlroy shakes hands with PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan after a news conference at East Lake Golf Club ahead of the 2022 Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. (Photo: Steve Helber/Associated Press)
The 34-year-old clearly felt betrayed – he once referred to himself as a “sacrificial lamb” – as a series of clandestine discussions and nod-and-a-wink dealings went on in the whispering shadows.
The various parties involved in the framework agreement gave a deadline of Dec. 31 to hammer home the deal but, due to the multitude of complexities involved, that looks likely to be missed.
There’s also talk of the PIF being jettisoned in favor of a vast financial package cobbled together by a posse of U.S.-based investors. The uneasy truce would swiftly collapse and all would return to the trenches in preparation for a resumption of hostilities.
It’s probably a good thing McIlroy has retreated from the front.
Jon Rahm certainly thinks so. And the Spaniard certainly wasn’t rushing to fill the vacancy that eventually went to Jordan Spieth.
“Absolutely no chance,” he said. “I’ve been asked a couple times if I have any interest but I’m not going to spend time in six, seven-hour long meetings. I’m not here for that.”
Rory’s resignation still came as something of a surprise to the Masters champion.
“Did I expect it?” Rahm said. “Not really. But I can understand why somebody would do that, especially with everything that’s involved.”