Rory McIlroy is rarely out of the firing line when it comes to matters concerning the PGA Tour and its steps to counter the threat posed by rival LIV Golf.
The 33-year-old has once again been at the forefront of events amid the latest changes coming to the PGA Tour, namely the introduction of some limited-field, no-cut events in 2024.
There are suggestions that the tournaments, which will feature between 70 and 80 players, will ensure that many will be shut out of the big-money opportunities. Indeed, one PGA Tour pro, James Hahn, was scathing about the idea – and those most likely to benefit from it – in an interview with Golfweek.
The World No.305 said: “I mean, I hate them. I’m gonna say exactly what 99.99 percent of fans said about players leaving for the LIV Tour. If our players just said, ‘We’re doing this for the money,’ I would have a lot more respect for them. But how they’re covering up what they’re doing and trying to make it a thing about sponsors and fans and saving opposite-field events. I think that’s all BS.”
However, according to Golf.com’s Dylan Dethier, McIlroy has hit back after the American failed to attend a player meeting held in the build-up to this week’s Players Championship aimed at outlining the changes. He said: “Like, you say all this s***and you’re not even in the meeting? If you want to get informed and be a part of the process – the fact that he wasn’t even in the room was a slap in the face to everyone there.”
Speaking to the press after the meeting, McIlroy explained it had been constructive. He said: “I think when more information and data was presented to them, the people that maybe had reservations about it I think came around, or at least were more informed on their opinions, right.” He continued: “I think the temperature in the room was nowhere near as hot as I anticipated it to be once the information was sort of laid out.”
Despite McIlroy’s belief that the meeting had helped allay many players’ fears over the changes, he also admitted to the Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis that not everyone was happy. When asked if the Tour was unified, McIlroy responded: “No. There are some angry players about the Tour changes.”
Nevertheless, McIlroy is sticking to his guns. After defending the changes before last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, pointing out that the tournaments will attract sponsors as they “keep the stars there for four days,” in his latest appearance before the media, he highlighted the fact that there will be several ways for players to qualify. He said: “Making the playoffs, getting into the top 50, so there are certain things that you have to do to qualify for those events. I think that’s more than fair to warrant eight events a year that are guaranteeing the players four days.”
While McIlroy is keen to point out that he feels the changes are fair, his reaction to Hahn’s absence from the meeting suggests he also believes players need to educate themselves on the move before airing their opinions.