Rory McIlory wants ‘over-saturated’ tours to be streamlined

The Premier Golf League proposal is seeking to coax the world’s best players

 Rory McIlroy during the pro-am round prior to the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida. Photograph: Getty Images

Rory McIlroy during the pro-am round prior to the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Rory McIlroy hopes the threat of a breakaway golf circuit can be the trigger for a “streamlined” version of existing tours.

McIlroy has been extremely candid with his dismissal of the Premier Golf League proposal, which is seeking to coax the world’s best players from the US PGA and European tours. While the notion remains a long shot that it will come to fruition, the Irishman has suggested structural change would be a positive outcome.

“I don’t want to come across as sort of elitist but I think some smaller fields [would help], maybe a few more events with no cuts,” said the world No 1 when considering how the game can be modified.

“There’s so many tournaments and there might be an over-saturation in a way. You look at the NFL and they play 18 games a year, 20 games a year max, and people want it all the time.

“I know football’s different than golf and all that, but I think being a golf fan these days can get quite exhausting following so many different tournaments, different tours, all that stuff. So maybe streamlining it a bit might be a good place to start a conversation.”

Adam Scott, who has been supportive of the PGL plan, has not altered that approach despite McIlroy’s view. “I’m still very positive about the concept of what it could be, for sure,” the world No 7 said. “It doesn’t mean I think it’s going to happen necessarily.

“Everyone sees it from somewhat of their own agenda. Being an international player, the thought of a world tour sounds really great. Maybe less so for someone based in Florida who doesn’t have to necessarily travel as much. I don’t think my sentiment has changed at all. I still think it’s fantastic.”

McIlroy and Scott are among the leading lights at the Arnold Palmer Invitational this week. Thirteen of the world’s top 25 will tee up at Bay Hill.

The Masters, meanwhile, the first major of the year, may be little over a month away but McIlroy insists thoughts of Augusta National are not yet occupying his mind. “For some people it [the Masters buildup] starts the Monday they arrive at Augusta,” he said. “For some people it started in January.

“What I realised is I can’t make things too big in my head. So if I started to gear up for Augusta in January by the time Augusta got around in April my head would be absolutely fried. So I try to push it out as late as possible. I’ve got four tournaments to play between now and then and my biggest concern and my top priority are those four tournaments.”

McIlroy is scheduled to make his Olympic debut in Tokyo this summer, although coronavirus fears mean the entire Games are shrouded in doubt.

“It’s something that we’re trying to stay on top of. If the organisers and the Olympic committee believe it’s safe enough that athletes can go and compete, then you have to take their word for it.

“They’re obviously liaising with the people that are the best at doing this. If they’re speaking to those people and those people are the best in their field, then you have to trust that their judgment is the right one.”

- Guardian services

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