Rory McIlroy’s ruled out signing up for the proposed new breakaway Premier Golf League, a big talking point right now.
This is not only because he wants to be “on the right side of history”. It’s also because it would take away his “autonomy and freedom”
The controversial new competition the 32-year old World No 1 is opposed to is a pro tour called Premier League Golf (PLG).
Its organiser plan to run it alongside the US PGA Tour and this is threatening to cause a major rift amongst the world’s leading golfers.
The British-based ‘World Golf Group’ last month unveiled plans for this new global tour it hopes to launch in 2022. It would consist of 18 yearly tournaments and feature only 48 of the game’s best golfers. Saudi Arabia sourced annual total prize money would be $240 million and because of the small fields, first prizes of as much as $10 million would be on offer.
PGL prize money could be appealing, says Rose
With its bigger prize money it could well be financially appealing to many players in the view of England’s reigning Olympic champion Justin Rose.
Tiger Woods has admitted he’s been approached to join the league and is “looking at it”. However, McIlroy wants no part of it at the present time.
“The more I’ve thought about it, the more I don’t like it,” McIlroy said in Mexico on Wednesday. He is s there to take part in the WGC-Mexico Championship, one of the world’s biggest tournaments outside of the Majors.
“The one thing as a professional golfer that I value is the fact that I have autonomy and freedom over everything that I do,” McIlroy told reporters at a news conference.
“I pick and choose. This (the Mexico tournament) is a perfect example. Some of the guys this week made the choice not to come to Mexico. If you go and play in this other golf league, you’re not going to have that choice.
“I read a thing the other day where it said if you take the money, they can tell you want to do, so if you don’t take the money, they can’t tell you what to do.
McIlroy wants ‘autonomy and freedom’
“And I think that’s my thing. I’ve never been one for being told what to do, and I like to have that autonomy and freedom over my career. I feel like I would give that up by going to play in this other league.”
Referring to a bid by Greg Norman to form a similar new tour in the mid-1990s, McIlroy indicated he was happy with the modern shape of golf’s tours.
“Too many people are looking at it purely from a monetary standpoint,” McIlroy said. “I would like to be on the right side of history, just like Arnold [Palmer] was with the Greg Norman thing.
“I value a lot of other things over money and that’s my stance on it at this point, the northern Ireland icon said.
“Money’s cheap, money’s the easy part. It shouldn’t be the driving factor.
“For some people it is, and yes, we’re professional golfers and we’re out here playing golf to earn a living. But at the end of the day I value my freedom and my autonomy over everything else.
Tiger Woods still thinking about it
When told that Tiger Woods had been approached and was scrutinizing the new Premier League, McIlroy, said: “Tiger’s 44. He’s got two young kids. He’s openly said last week he only wants to play 12 times a year. This league’s proposing 18 [tournaments] so he’s not going to do it.”
Woods, speaking ahead of this week’s Genesis Invitational in California on Tuesday, admitted that he had been briefed on details of the PGL.
“Have I been personally approached? Yes, and my team’s been aware of it and we’ve delved into the details of it. Right now we and trying to figure it all out, just like everyone else,”
“We’ve been down this road before with World Golf Championships and other events being started
“There’s a lot of information that we’re still looking at to see whether it’s a reality or not. But just like everybody else, we’re looking into it.”
— GOLFTV (@GOLFTV) February 20, 2020