'Rules Are Rules' - PGA Tour Stars 'Want To Know What's Happening' With McIlroy's $3m Fine

PGA Tour stars have called for the Rory McIlroy situation to be clarified by commissioner Jay Monahan

Rory McIlroy
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sympathy is in short supply for Rory McIlroy losing $3m of his Player Impact Program (PIP) money for skipping the RBC Heritage this week, with the theme from his fellow PGA Tour stars being “he knew what the rules were”.

After missing the cut at The Masters, McIlroy pulled out of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links this week, which is the second designated event he’s missed the season having also skipped the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Under current rules, players are only allowed to miss one elevated event, and PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan is set to dock McIlroy $3m – a quarter of the $12 PIP money he won in 2022 – as a result.

The irony of McIlroy of all people being the first player to break the rules that he himself helped set up has not been lost on his fellow PGA Tour pros.

“Rules are the rules,” Xander Schauffele was quoted as saying in Sports Illustrated. “So, I mean, for the most part, a lot of what he wanted is what's happening. And the irony is that he's not here.”

That sentiment was echoed by Joel Dahmen, who said: “I feel like Rory was leading the charge on the changes that have been made and he helped make the rules.

“He knew what the rules were. So, he knew what was coming. He also has so much money, he doesn't care about $3 million.”

Justin Thomas disagreed with Dahmen’s playful suggestion that McIlroy did not care about the amount of money he’d be missing out on, but was another player to say the Northern Irishman knew what would happen if he missed the event.

“It doesn't matter who you are, that's a ton of money,” said Thomas. “All of us knew going into the year what the situation was and what we had to do to get extra X or Y and for him Y is a lot in this situation, finishing second (In the PIP rankings).

“So, it wasn't a surprise to him or any of us it just was kind of where he ended up in the rankings and not playing this week is I guess a consequence.”

Scheffler wants to know what's going on

Rory McIlroy at the 2023 Masters

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The PGA Tour never comments on disciplinary matters, but Scottie Scheffler is one of the players who would like to hear some concrete news of the situation.

“It's a lot of money. It's a big deal. A lot of people want to know what's going on,” Scheffler said.

The world number two hopes Monahan would tell the players if he had decided to enforce a fine or excuse McIlroy due to extenuating circumstances, adding: “I imagined he'd communicate to the membership”.

And communication was another big theme in general among the PGA Tour pros in South Carolina, with Rickie Fowler calling for transparency between the players and commissioner.

“I think that's a big thing that's been talked about for the last year, is having more transparency and just good communication between players the tour,” Fowler said.

“I think that includes you (the media) as well. And ultimately, the more transparency and the more everyone's on the same page, the better.”

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.