‘A Subset Of People On The Board That Were Maybe Uncomfortable With Me Coming Back’ – McIlroy Rules Out PGA Tour Board Return

The four-time Major winner has admitted a "subset of people" were "uncomfortable" with the idea of him returning

Rory McIlroy takes a shot at the pro-am before the Wells Fargo Championship
Rory McIlroy has confirmed he won't be making an imminent return to the PGA Tour Policy Board
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Just two weeks after it had looked as though Rory McIlroy was set for a shock return to the PGA Tour Policy Board, he has confirmed that it won’t be happening any time soon.

Last month, The Guardian reported that Webb Simpson had tendered his resignation from the board and requested McIlroy take his place. Days later, McIlroy appeared open to the possibility, saying before the Zurich Classic of New Orleans: “I think I can be helpful.” 

McIlroy is preparing for his first start since victory at TPC Louisiana at this week’s Wells Fargo Championship, where he addressed the latest on his potential return.

He said: “Yeah, there's been a lot of conversations. Sort of reminded me partly why I didn't. So yeah, I think it just, it got pretty complicated and pretty messy and I think with the way it happened, I think it opened up some old wounds and scar tissue from things that have happened before.”

McIlroy resigned from the Policy Board in November, but he has still been vocal on the current state of the game, particularly with regard to the PGA Tour’s protracted negotiations with the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) behind LIV Golf. However, the 35-year-old suggested not everyone was willing to welcome him back.

Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy at The Players Championship

Jordan Spieth replaced Rory McIlroy on the PGA Tour Policy Board

(Image credit: Getty Images)

He continued: “So yeah, I think there was a subset of people on the board that were maybe uncomfortable with me coming back on for some reason.

“Yeah, I think the best course of action is if, you know, 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, and 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.”

McIlroy then turned his attention to the need to bring a positive conclusion to the negotiations between the PGA Tour and PIF. He said: “We've got this window of opportunity to get it done, because both sides from a business perspective I wouldn't say need to get it done, but it makes sense.

“It's probably not going to feel great for either side, but if it's a place where the game of golf starts to thrive again and we can all get back together, then I think that's ultimately a really good thing.”

However, McIlroy admitted potential sticking points remain. He said: “It could be if we go to more of a global schedule, do the American players that are used to playing all their golf in America want to travel outside of the States 12 times a year to play tournament golf, you know? That's a consideration.

“There's the fact that if we all sort of come back together, there's only - I think from the LIV contingent there's only seven players over there that have status, still have status or eligibility here. But would it be palatable to the rest of the membership if they come back with  - after seeing out their contract and they've financially got ahead by potentially hundreds of millions of dollars over the people that stayed, that's - that's a consideration."

Rory McIlroy and Webb Simpson talk at the 2022 Wells Fargo Championship

Rory McIlroy says he's happy Webb Simpson is staying on the PGA Tour Policy Board

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Despite those concerns, McIlroy said he remains confident a deal will happen. “I'm still optimistic,” he said. “I think Webb staying on is a really good thing. I think he's got a really balanced voice in all of this and I think he sees the bigger picture, which is great."

Mike Hall
News Writer

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.