Rory McIlroy set to make a surprise return to PGA Tour board

Move would be a boost for PGA Tour and its sponsors as golf attempts to end the disruption caused by Saudi Arabian-backed LIV’s arrival

Rory McIlroy’s commitment to a stronger future for elite golf could be confirmed by a dramatic return to board positions on the PGA Tour as early as this week.

Sources close to the situation have told the Guardian that roles for McIlroy as a director both on the PGA Tour’s policy board and on PGA Tour Enterprises are subject to a vote on Wednesday, after Webb Simpson tendered resignation along with the explicit request that the Northern Irishman takes his place.

McIlroy reappearing on the frontline will represent a major boost to the PGA Tour and its sponsors as the sport attempts to end the disruption caused by the Saudi Arabian-backed LIV’s arrival on the scene.

McIlroy surprisingly resigned from the PGA Tour’s policy board last November. The assumption then was that the four-time major winner wanted to place more focus on matters inside the ropes. Yet men’s professional golf remains in a state of flux, with traditional tours and LIV operating on different paths.


McIlroy has always felt damage being done to golf’s reputation and exposure as a result of the LIV schism is hugely harmful. “The game is way better with all of us together,” McIlroy said in recent days.

McIlroy (34) is now of a mind to step back into the scenario in an attempt to make headway. McIlroy stated his desire to play on the PGA Tour for the remainder of his career last week, after spurious rumours suggested he may be subject to a LIV offer.

That the world No 2 still wants to be at the forefront of the PGA Tour’s decision making should sit well with the rank-and-file membership.

Others likely to be impressed by McIlroy’s potential return include the DP World Tour, who would have a boardroom voice at the PGA Tour, and Fenway Sports Group (FSG). FSG, as part of the Strategic Sports Group (SSG), signed a commercial agreement with the PGA Tour earlier this year. Fenway and McIlroy have existing connections via TGL, a stadium golf league due to launch in 2025.

McIlroy also enjoys historically good relations with Yasir al-Rumayyan, the governor of Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF). The PIF has a desire to work alongside the PGA Tour and SSG but have been unable to make sufficient progress on that deal; there will be a hope McIlroy can move the process forward.

Fellow board members who will vote on McIlroy’s return include Tiger Woods, Patrick Cantlay and Jordan Spieth. Cantlay’s thoughts on this matter could be especially interesting. Spieth and McIlroy had words after the Texan suggested an alliance with the PIF “wasn’t needed.” Al-Rumayyan subsequently held a meeting with PGA Tour board members and SSG in the Bahamas.

McIlroy is in the field for this week’s Zurich Classic in New Orleans. – Guardian