Why Rory McIlroy Finally Said Yes To Netflix Full Swing

The Northern Irishman appears in the series despite initially declining to participate

Rory McIlroy takes a shot at the 2023 Dubai Desert Classic
Rory McIlroy has explained why he's chosen to participate in Netflix series Full Swing
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When the trailer dropped for the Netflix docuseries Full Swing last month, one of its biggest surprises was saved until the very end, with an appearance from Rory McIlroy.

Originally, it had been thought McIlroy had declined to appear in the series, but his brief cameo in the trailer only served to heighten expectations for the eight-parter going behind the scenes of life on the PGA Tour.

McIlroy is preparing for his first PGA Tour event since winning the CJ Cup at Congaree last October. However, before he tees it up in the highly anticipated WM Phoenix Open, he explained why he had agreed to take part in the series after all, and it appears his role as a defender of the PGA Tour amid the emergence of LIV Golf helped persuade him to join the cast.

He said: “Yeah, I sort of took the attitude of see how the first season works out, see if I like it, like the idea, feel comfortable letting cameras get into my life a little bit more. But I had a good chat with Chad [Mumm, one of the producers] in the summertime. Obviously with everything that's going on in the world of golf, he just said having my voice in there in some way could just add a layer of context that wasn't there already.“

Mumm also explained to Golf Monthly the circumstances of how McIlroy was persuaded to appear. He said: "Rory, and I sat down at the end of the season after the Open championship - after he and Tiger were basically kind of galvanizing the PGA Tour team and pulling the players together,  in some ways to remake the PGA Tour, and I sat down at breakfast at an event and just pitched it.

"I said, 'We may never get another chance at this. There's no guarantee that we're gonna do another season and I think the world needs to hear from you, you know, what you're feeling in this moment, what this means to you, and why. And we could do it next year and they're not going to see it till 2024. So you know, now is the time and golf needs this.' And it's like a five-minute conversation. He was like, 'Yeah, I'm in, and then an hour later he had a mic on and with our team in the locker room. 

"Rory only knows as far as I can tell... everything he does, he does all in. And once he said yes, he gave us as much or more access than any player did all season."

While the series documents a tumultuous period for the PGA Tour, the LIV Golf threat has undoubtedly spurred it into action so it can remain competitive. One sign can be found at this week’s elevated tournament, meaning it has a far higher purse than previous years and a stronger field.

However, another could be observed in the recent Farmers Insurance Open, where Max Homa was mic’d up - an initiative that was repeated last week in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am with Keith Mitchell. That’s something McIlroy says he’s open to considering. He said: “I think they've been great. So I think Max was really insightful in Torrey Pines and Keith Mitchell last week at Pebble. 

"I thought they were very good. It's very unobtrusive; you just put an AirPod in your ear and just have a chat with the guys in the studio. It would take a little bit of convincing for me, but I'd certainly be open to it. But given the last couple of weeks and how well I think it's been received, I'd certainly be open to it.”

While that's a consideration for the future, McIlroy also appeared brimming with confidence about his game. He got his year off to the best possible start, winning the DP World Tour's Dubai Desert Classic at the end of last month, and he insisted he has plenty more good years - and victories - in him. He said: “I've won 30 whatever times around the world as a professional. There's no reason that I can't double that number going forward. Like I truly believe that.”

Mike Hall

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.