LIV Golf Has Exploited Some Weaknesses In PGA Tour - Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy says that proposed changes on the PGA Tour to smaller fields with no cut have come about due to LIV Golf

Rory McIlroy in preparation for the 2023 Hero Dubai Desert Classic
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy admitted that the proposed changes on the PGA Tour to limited-field, no-cut events has been brought about thanks to LIV Golf exploiting some weaknesses in the previous framework.

The smaller field and no cut on LIV Golf were two aspects Greg Norman put forward as huge benefits as all the star players would be around for the entirety of the 54-hole events.

Now the PGA Tour is looking to shape their new designated events in a similar fashion, with smaller fields and no halfway cut involved in the new plans for the 2024 season.

McIlroy has been heavily involved in many of the recent changes on the PGA Tour, including these ones now on the table about designated events – and admits that LIV Golf played a part in them.

“The reason we’re making these changes is because, like it or not, LIV have exploited maybe some weaknesses of what the PGA Tour framework was and we’re trying to do things to rectify that,” McIlroy told the Golf Channel.

The new structure idea has brought in mockery from LIV Golf backers, but also concern from PGA Tour players and fans that the designated events will become a closed shop for the top players to just swell their bank balances.

McIlroy insists that there are ways for lower ranked players to play their way in, and says there will be a meritocracy aspect to them.

“When the structure is properly explained to everyone, because I think everyone is acting off limited information, once it’s explained people will see that this is built on meritocracy and guys having hope that they can play their way in to these designated events. 

“That they don’t have to wait a year for example to have a good season and then get in – you have really good play and it gets you in right away.

“And the churn as well, if you don’t play well enough in these designated events you’re not in them the next year, there is a churn to this. To have more of that meritocracy feeling, to have that churn at the bottom that if you don’t perform you’re out, that’s a really important part of this.”

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Critics also say the lack of cut removes the competitive element that makes the PGA Tour what it is, but while he acknowledges having the top players there for all four rounds is crucial for commercial reasons, McIlroy insists it’s not a plan that will reward mediocrity.

“The no-cut thing just became a big deal when LIV came along, that’s what prompted the whole discussion about it. It guarantees the top players are around for all four days,” McIlroy added.

“I’m certainly not one to reward mediocrity. This is the most aspirational tour to play in the world and we have to keep it that way. It has to be the toughest challenge for the best players in the world and that’s the kind of tour we’re trying to create.

“It’s not a hand out for guys that don’t want to try anymore, this is making the Tour more competitive - the no-cut aspect is more for the commercial viability for it and making sure your top guys are there to be seen for all four days.”

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.