World number one Rory McIlroy has criticized the money behind the proposed new Premier Golf League tour and admitted that is the big reason for him rejecting any offers made to join PGL.
McIlroy had already become the first player to rule out switching his allegiance to the Premier Golf League after being asked about the question during the WGC-Mexico Championship, a tournament a number of his contemporaries chose to miss.
And speaking after his opening round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, four-time major winner McIlroy revealed the exact reason why he is against moving from the PGA Tour and European Tour and switching to PGL—if it happens.
It wasn’t just the pre-determined calendar of events and lack of freedom, however, that was behind McIlroy’s decision. The money behind the PGL, said to involve Saudi Public Investment Fund among up to 60 different investors, also doesn’t sit well.
The Northern Irishman told Golf Central: “The reason I said what I said (in Mexico) is because, we were in Mexico a couple of weeks ago and some people decided not to go, but that was their choice.
“That was the freedom they had, they have autonomy over their schedule, and they can pick and choose when and where they want to play.
“Where, we go to this new league, that’s not going to be the case. You are going to be contracted to play 18 events, they’re going to tell you where and when you should be there, and as a golfer and an independent contractor, I didn’t like the sound of that.
“I didn’t really like where the money was coming from either, and I wanted to be the first one to speak out against it, and I’m glad that I have.”
The PGL has been described as golf’s equivalent to the Formula 1 World Championship with an 18-tournament world tour taking stars of the game across the globe and into homes on all corners of the planet.
While Woods and Phil Mickelson has declared an interest in finding out more about the PGL, McIlroy won’t be making the switch no matter how much prize money and earnings is on offer.
The Premier Golf League, will involve 48 players, 18 events, 12 teams, 1 Individual World Champion and one 1 Team World Champion. Shotgun starts would be used to ensure all players are on the course at the same time, and each tournament would have $10 million on offer according to reports.
An estimated start date of January 2022 has been proposed, although no firm plans have been revealed yet.
Brooks Koepka, the man McIlroy replaced as world number one earlier this year, was not against joining the PGL. He said: “I’m just going to play where the best players play, simple as. It doesn’t matter. I want to play against the best, I think everyone wants to play against the best.”
The 15-time major winner Woods has also been approached by organisers of the PGL, but said he will take time before deciding whether he would want to join.
“Have I been personally approached? Yes, and my team’s been aware of it and we’ve delved into the details of it and trying to figure it out, just like everyone else,” he said. “There’s a lot of information that we’re still looking at, and whether it’s reality or not, but just like everybody else, we’re looking into it.
“I think that just like all events, you’re trying to get the top players to play more collectively. And so this is a natural evolution, whether or not things like this are going to happen. But ideas like this are going to happen going forward, whether it’s now or any other time in the future.”