McIlroy Praises PGA Tour’s $40M Slush Fund; Rips Startup Tour as “Money Grab”

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy walks off the green during the WGC-Dell Match Play on Mar 29, 2019 at Austin CC in Austin, TX. (Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

In one long-winded answer, Rory McIlroy both praised the PGA Tour’s $40 million payoff to its superstars, while calling the proposed Premier Golf League a “money grab.”

You can’t make it up.

Media question: “Rory, it’s been a while since we’ve seen you and two kind of major developments since then, the first being the Player Impact Program. As the PAC chairman, I’m curious your thoughts on that.

“And then yesterday the news that the PGL or whatever name it’s going by these days says that they’re making offers. Again, just curious your sense on sort of the state of that venture.”

RORY McILROY: “Yeah, so look, the ($40 million) Player Impact Program, it’s a way to it’s a way to reward the top players for engaging with the PGA Tour.

“But it’s also a program designed to it’s not as if it’s just, okay, the top 10 players or, you know, the top 10 names in the game get this money and thank you for your loyalty. There’s a bit more to it.

“I think that Justin Rose made a good point, he said a rising tide lifts all ships. I think with the top players being more engaged in the Tour and the goings on, it will help the rest of the membership. I think that’s how I feel about it.

“I made the point, I think it’s still a possibility or there’s the potential for anyone to get into this top 10, right? I was making this point yesterday.

“Like a Will Zalatoris, he was on the Korn Ferry last year, he’s had a wonderful rise. He’s cool, he’s got a really cool look, he’s young. There’s a possibility, if he keeps playing the way he’s playing this year, he could be in that top 10. And to think about that, to think about this kid that’s coming up that was on the Korn Ferry like a year ago and could make that top 10, I think that’s pretty cool.

“So it means that there’s the potential there for anyone on Tour to get in there if they play well enough. And also, obviously if you play.

“I don’t want to say winning takes care of everything, but if you play well on this tour, you have amazing opportunities. I just picked Will out of that because of the run he’s on at the minute and the potential that he has going forward.

“I think it’s a great initiative by the Tour.

“I think everyone knows it was a little bit designed to try to appease some of the people that had their heads turned by different leagues or SGL, PGL, Tour de Force, whatever you want to call it, but I think it’s a very prudent move on the Tour’s part.

“And then with the SGL – yeah, look, they first contacted me back in 2014, so this is seven years down the line and nothing has really changed. Maybe the source of the money’s changed or the people that are in charge have changed, but nothing has happened. No sponsorship deals, no media deals, no players have signed up, no manufacturers have signed up. There’s been so many iterations at this point.

“I think people you go back to what happened last week in Europe with the European Super League in football.

“People can see it for what it is, which is a money grab, which is fine if that’s what you’re playing golf for is to make as much money as possible. Totally fine, then go and do that if that’s what makes you happy.

“But I think the top players in the game, I’m just speaking my own personal beliefs, like I’m playing this game to try to cement my place in history and my legacy and to win major championships and to win the biggest tournaments in the world. That’s why I’m playing this game.

“Golf has been very good to me obviously over the years by playing in Europe starting off, coming over to the PGA Tour and playing here. I honestly don’t think there’s a better structure in place in golf, and I don’t think there will be.

“You have the strategic partnership as well between Europe and the PGA Tour and that’s only going to strengthen the structure of golf going forward as well in terms of scheduling and all sorts of other stuff and working together a little bit more.

“Yeah, I mean, I don’t think it was a coincidence that the news came out yesterday just as the PGA Tour’s having their annual player meeting and Jay’s addressing the membership.

“Yeah, I think you all know my feelings on it and I’m very much against it. I don’t see why anyone would be for it.”



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