Rory McIlroy must be on Jay Monahan’s personal payroll because on Thursday, after the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational in which McIlroy carded a 66 and finished the day second behind Matt Every, he joined the Golf Channel crew and blew rainbows up the PGA Tour’s rear.
“I’d like to think I’m quite a loyal person, and I think the PGA Tour has given me a platform to showcase my skills, to build my brand, to turn me into this golfer and athlete than I am,” said McIlroy. “I think Jay Monahan and his team do a wonderful job with the tour.”
The rainbow pumping didn’t stop there…
“And look, the reason I said what I said was because, we were in Mexico and some people decided not to go. But that was their choice. That was the freedom that they had. They have autonomy over their schedule and they can pick and choose when and where they want to play. Where if we go to this new way, that’s not going to be the case. You’re going to play 18 events. They’re going to tell you where and when you should be there. As a golfer and an independent contractor, I didn’t like the sound of that.”
Yeah, and as a tournament sponsor willing to dish out more money for a single event than any on the PGA Tour, you should be there.
I was on McIlroy’s side at first in regards to the PGL, but listening to Premiere Golf League CEO Andy Gardiner on Rick Shiels podcast completely changed my mind. This league isn’t just some wanna-be attempt to take viewership from the PGA Tour, it’s very well thought out.
It’s also interesting that just a few days ago, McIlroy was suggesting that changes needed to be made to the PGA Tour to freshen it up.
“I don’t want to come across as sort of elitist but I think some smaller fields [would help], maybe a few more events with no cuts,” said the world No 1 when considering how the game can be modified. “There’s so many tournaments and there might be an over-saturation in a way. You look at the NFL and they play 18 games a year, 20 games a year max, and people want it all the time.”
Less events with no cuts? Sounds like what the PGL is doing.
“I know football’s different than golf and all that, but I think being a golf fan these days can get quite exhausting following so many different tournaments, different tours, all that stuff. So maybe streamlining it a bit might be a good place to start a conversation.
“Everyone sees it from somewhat of their own agenda. Being an international player, the thought of a world tour sounds really great. Maybe less so for someone based in Florida who doesn’t have to necessarily travel as much. I don’t think my sentiment has changed at all. I still think it’s fantastic.”
So, what’s it going to be? A fresh new world tour with no cut so that fans and sponsors get to watch their favorite players every round or the same old thing?
Michael is the founder and Editor in Chief of The Stiff Shaft. He is also the Senior Editor of Golfweek Custom Media and covers the World Long Drive for Golf Channel.
He has 8+ years of covering golf, is an LSU fan, and prefers to hit driver-wedge as often as possible.