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PGA Championship: Rory McIlroy says PGA Tour is ‘in a worse place’ today

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PGA Championship: Rory McIlroy says PGA Tour is ‘in a worse place’ today

LOUISVILLE – Rory McIlroy did not address the elephant in the room at a news conference Wednesday, refusing to speak even in the most general terms possible, except to say that “I’m ready to play this week.”

However, the biggest elephant in the room, the state of professional golf as a whole, well, McIlroy took that beast head-on and threw it right into the laps of those players who insist there is no cause for alarm and all. that. Alright.

News emerged Monday night that PGA Tour board member Jimmy Dunne, the architect of the Tour’s initial deal with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, had resigned from the board. Dunne expressed frustration that there had been any kind of agreement to build the future of golf and indicated that his role was now “superfluous”.

On Tuesday, the players Dunne effectively blamed for halting any progress. Tiger Woods, one of the players who advises the Tour, indicated that “we are taking steps, and they may not be giant steps, but we are taking steps.” Jordan Spieth, another member of the Player Advisory Council, added: “Overall, I think everyone on our side is pulling together in the right direction.”

On Wednesday it was McIlroy’s turn. He called Dunne’s resignation “a big loss for the PGA Tour, if they’re trying to get this deal done with the PIF and trying to unify the game.”

McIlroy noted that Dunne had been an intermediary between the Tour and the PIF, and that Dunne had enjoyed the “warmth” of the PIF side of the deals. McIlroy added that his confidence that a deal could be reached was already “as low as he had been” even before the news of Dunne’s departure.

“It’s really disappointing,” McIlroy said. “I think the Tour is in a worse place for that. We’ll see. “We’ll see where it goes from here and see what happens.”

McIlroy himself has run the gamut on the question of Saudi involvement in golf, first fighting and raging against it and now accepting it as inevitable. He had been on the Player Advisory Council but resigned last November; He failed in his bid to return to the board last week, but was later named to a separate committee tasked with negotiating directly with the Saudis.

Regardless of McIlroy’s level of involvement, the facts now speak for themselves: no deal exists, despite two self-imposed deadlines (December 31, 2023 and before the Masters). LIV Golf continues to shore up its operations, investing in infrastructure and executive staff. And when LIV’s initial round of player contracts expire later this year, LIV will likely make another run at poaching PGA Tour players, as it did with Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton last year.

Golf’s civil war will one day end. But it’s increasingly unlikely that the end will come on the PGA Tour’s terms.

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