The Saudi Golf League has dominated proceedings in the golfing world over the last month. However, following the announcements of support of the PGA Tour from Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau on Sunday afternoon, it seems that the threat of the SGL is going away.
Speaking after his final round at the Genesis Invitational on Sunday, Rory McIlroy gave his thoughts on the league after the announcements of two of the game's biggest stars, claiming that the SGL is now "dead in the water" and that "I just can't see any reason why anyone would go."
The four-time Major winner, who stated back in May 2021 that the idea of the SGL was nothing more than a "money grab", went on to say: "I think with everything that's transpired in the last few days, I don't think it's surprising. Like I've always reiterated, I feel like this is the best place to play golf if you're an elite professional golfer.
"Maybe I'm fortunate that I've been more privy to the inner workings of the Tour and I've been more involved and got quite a good relationship with the leadership team on the PGA Tour, Jay, Andy Pazder, Ross Berlin, all those sort of guys. Every time I walk out of a meeting or walk out of any sort of interaction with them, I'm always very confident that the Tour's headed in the right direction.
"I was really glad to see DJ and Bryson put out those statements this week. We all want to play against the best players in the world and they're certainly two of the best players in the world and it's nice to know that they're committed to playing here and committed to making this the best tour in the world."
Although there had been multiple reports of players being offered eye-watering amounts of money, as well as individuals signing non-disclosure agreements, McIlroy never really seemed worried about the SGL takeover, stating: "I don't think they put the right leadership team in from the start. In all honesty, like the epicenter of the professional world still revolves around Tiger, he is the epicenter.
"Like who knows when he's going to play again, but if they don't have his blessing even, it's got no chance. Then roll in Jon Rahm, the best player in the world, Collin Morikawa, No. 2, me who's been up there for a while, everyone else, I mean, yeah."
With the SGL rumoured to announce a formal kick-off the week of The Players Championship, only time will tell what is to happen. At the moment, it is believed around 17 golfers have already "jumped over" to the league, with PGA Tour professional, Kramer Hickok, believing that there will be "12-14 events, with no cut and 40 players."
However, McIlroy is unsure of the participation numbers, humorously stating: "Who else have you got to fill the field? I mean, Greg Norman would have to tee it up to fill the field. Like, I mean seriously? I mean, who else is going to do it? I don't think they could get 48 guys."
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Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.
Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?
Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°
Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°
Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW
Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°
Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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