Rory McIlroy Says Tough to Add or Cancel Current Fall Events

Rory McIlroy, Wells Fargo Championship, PAC,Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
Rory McIlroy, Wells Fargo Championship, PAC,Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports /

A lot of talk is in the works about adding new fall events for the top PGA Tour players, but Rory McIlroy says there are problems with that.

“It’s very hard for me to stand here and say I’d like all the fall events to go away and play three or four of these suggested tournaments that they’re thinking about because that’s good for me, but that’s not good for the entire membership,” McIlroy explained in his press conference before the Wells Fargo Championship.

He is also of the opinion that there are already plenty of goodies available for the top players.

“PIP program, the Comcast Top-10, the FedEx Cup bonus, all of those things are designed to funnel more money into the top players’ pockets,” he added. “I think for us to talk about just taking the fall events away for the guys that sort of need them and need those opportunities would be very, very selfish.”

Rory McIlroy called it a delicate balance to serve the entire Tour.

Rory McIlroy has a say because he has become active in the Player Advisory Council or PAC which is the group of PGA Tour players who participate along with top brass at the PGA Tour to provide structure to many aspects of the organization and make decisions on changes.  He is currently a Player Director of the group.

The PAC is tasked with reviewing changes that will affect PGA Tour members. It is a lot of responsibility and can have a life-changing impact on players, such as the decision to go to what has been called an all-exempt Tour for the top 125 golfers many years ago.  Prior to that, it was top 60 in earnings annually, as well as winners in various categories, that were exempt. Then the change to have a FedEx Cup affected players in a different way.

Right now, the PAC members and PGA Tour execs are discussing what should happen with the fall series.  Rory McIlroy pointed out that it’s 200 members whose lives can be altered by changes to the fall, not just the top players.

There have always been two schools of thought on the fall, depending on where a player falls on the FedEx point list, formerly the money list.  It was the same long before the wrap-around season debuted.

Before all the modern changes and the FedEx Cup, the top players usually didn’t play in the fall because they were giving guys who needed a little more money to stay in the top 125 a chance to earn their way on to the Tour for the next season.  The exception was when the race for the money list was at stake.  Then the season’s top earners might show up.

Now, those who play through the FedEx Cup Playoffs and the Tour Championship want a few weeks of rest, while those who did not play all of those extra tournaments are ready to play again because they have had maybe a week or two when they were not eligible.

Rory McIlroy, who has acted more and more mature in his behavior in recent years, said he thinks it’s his responsibility to participate, to take on a leadership role.  The fact that he still continues his membership on the European Tour gives him some added perspective because he understands the thinking of people on the other side of the Atlantic, many of whom now play successfully on the PGA Tour.

He admitted the PAC is not a role that always interested him.

“I think it’s something that is pretty important, especially where the game is right now, making sure it’s headed in the right direction,” he said.

The last comment could possibly be taken as not in the direction of LIV golf, as he is on record as not liking the source of the money for that proposed Tour.  He was the first to express that opinion publicly.

As for this week, the Wells Fargo Championship, it is temporarily being played at TPC Potomac, which, years ago, used to be the site of a PGA Tour event.  Those who say McIlroy should be favored this week because of his past performance at the tournament apparently don’t know the venue has changed.

“Never played here before, never seen the venue,” he said. “I played 18 holes yesterday and just played another nine today, so I guess as a replacement for Quail Hollow, it’s a pretty nice one.”

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Players Advisory Council

Current members of the PAC are:

Peter Malnati (Co-Chairman), Webb Simpson (Co-Chairman), Patrick Cantlay, Paul Casey, Austin Cook, Joel Dahmen, Harry Higgs, Billy Horschel, Russell Knox, Brooks Koepka, Justin Lower, Graeme McDowell, Maverick McNealy, Trey Mullinax, Jon Rahm, and Will Zalatoris.

Other Player Directors who serve with McIlroy are James Hahn, Charley Hoffman, and Kevin Kisner.