May 9, 2024

Stars on the PGA Tour policy board, which includes Tiger Woods, rallied against Rory McIlroy being reinstated in a role in the organization as the sport’s civil war shows no signs of abating.


The past couple of years have been fraught within the world of golf, with the establishment of the Saudi Arabian LIV circuit having heralded a new era. Amid major debate among golf’s leading lights over the sport’s trajectory, the PIF-backed tour agreed to a stunning potential merger with the PGA Tour and DP World Tour last summer.


However, talks over a “framework agreement” to bring this deal to fruition have proven slow, with progress having stalled in the interim period. With this impasse ongoing, Webb Simpson offered to resign from the PGA Tour policy board last month – with McIlroy throwing his hat into the ring to replace him.


The Northern Irishman’s offer to help with negotiations came after he served on the Player Advisory Council in 2019, while also sitting on the PGA Tour policy board between 2021 and last November. However, the 35-year-old’s offer appeared to divide opinion within the policy board’s inner sanctum and was eventually passed over.


Stars including the aforementioned Woods, Patrick Cantlay and Jordan Spieth sit on the policy board, with the four-time majors winner McIlroy having clashed with the latter pair over the sport’s future before today. Moreover, Kevin Streelman and James Hahn raised various concerns over the star making a return in this capacity, as per Golf Week.


In the case of Streelman, he posited: “He was very clear that it was too much for him. He had business dealings, he has a kid, he wants to focus on his game. Trust me, I get it. But once you quit, you’re not getting back, I wouldn’t quit on something that you were elected to by your peers. To want back in is peculiar.”

Meanwhile, Hahn also seemed to be left concerned by the aspect of Simpson essentially hand-picking who should succeed him on the policy board. He asserted: “That’s just not how democracy works. It goes against all the principles of what makes a Tour-run organization.”


Rory McIlroy had offered to return to the PGA Tour policy board as Webb Simpson offered his resignation.


Rory McIlroy had offered to return to the PGA Tour policy board as Webb Simpson offered his resignation ( Image: Getty Images)

Giving his own recollections about the fallout from his offer and the subsequent rejection, McIlroy admitted that the process had been tense. He confessed: “It got pretty complicated and pretty messy. I think it opened up some old wounds and scar tissue from things that have happened before.


“There was a subset of people on the board that were maybe uncomfortable with me coming back on for some reason. I think the best course of action is, if there’s some people on there that aren’t comfortable with me coming back on, then I think Webb just stays on and sees out his term.


“I think he’s gotten to a place where he’s comfortable with doing that and I just sort of keep doing what I’m doing. I put my hand up to help and it was … I wouldn’t say it was rejected, it was a complicated process to get through to put me back on there. So that’s all fine, no hard feelings and we’ll all move on.


McIlroy added: “My fear was if Webb stepped off and it wasn’t me that was going in his place, what could potentially happen. I’m really happy that Webb has made that decision to stay on and serve out the rest of his term. I’m impatient because I think we’ve got this window of opportunity to get it done.”

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