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Golf News, Rory McIlroy Cannot Return to PGA Tour Policy Board, Latest, LIV Golf, Patrick Cantlay

Rory McIlroy will not return to the PGA Tour Policy Board, the four-time major winner said Wednesday, while Webb Simpson will remain on the decision-making panel.

Speaking on the eve of the PGA Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina, McIlroy said some other board members were concerned about his return after stepping down from the board last year.

“There have been many conversations. It kind of reminded me why I didn’t stay (stay),” McIlroy said. “It got quite complicated and quite messy and I think the way it happened opened up old wounds and scar tissue from things that had happened before.

“There was a segment of people on the board who perhaps didn’t like me coming back for one reason or another.

“I think the best course of action is… Webb just stays on and sees out his term, and I think he’s at a point where he’s comfortable with that and I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing.”

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Rory McIlroy from Northern Ireland with his golf coach Michael Bannon.
Rory McIlroy from Northern Ireland with his golf coach Michael Bannon.Source: AFP

The board features players Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Cantlay and Peter Malnati. Cantlay and Spieth have had disputes with McIlroy in the past over the future direction of golf – and multiple reports have said Cantlay played a key role in denying McIlroy’s return.

McIlroy was expected to return after 2012 US Open winner Simpson said he was stepping down to spend more time with his family.

Instead, Simpson will complete his term, which ends in 2025, according to McIlroy.

“I raised my hand to help and it was – I wouldn’t say it was turned down,” McIlroy said. “It was a complicated process to get me back there. So that’s all fine, no hard feelings and we’ll all move on.

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The board remains in discussions about finalizing a merger deal between the PGA Tour and the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) – backers of the rival LIV Golf League – under a framework agreement announced last June.

“I’m still optimistic,” McIlroy said. “I think Webb staying on is a good thing. He has a very balanced voice in all of this and I think he sees the bigger picture, which is great. “I was afraid if Webb stepped down and I didn’t go in his place, what might happen.”

Talks with an original December deadline have dragged on for months, with frustrations over slow to no progress being one of the factors leading to McIlroy’s departure.

“I’m impatient because I think we have this opportunity to get it done, because from a business perspective I wouldn’t say either side should get it done, but it makes sense,” McIlroy said.

But the continued failure to strike a deal to reunite golf has sparked outrage. Journalist Dan Rapaport tweeted: “Eleven months after the framework agreement and the news of the day, top players are bickering. No PGA Tour-PIF deal in sight. Talent divided between tours.

“The last three years have been a case study in how to destroy a sport from within. And the players are richer than ever. Difficult to digest.”

McIlroy compared the situation to the Good Friday Agreement that ended unrest in Ireland and Northern Ireland in the 1990s.

“Catholics weren’t happy, Protestants weren’t happy, but it brought peace and then you just learn to live with what was negotiated,” McIlroy said.

“That’s my little way of thinking about it and getting both sides to see that there could be a compromise here. Yeah, it probably won’t be a great feeling for either party, but if it’s a place where the game of golf starts to flourish again and we can all get together again, then I think that’s ultimately a really good thing.

McIlroy cited restoring PGA status to players who jumped for rich LIV deals and a possible global schedule as issues that will require compromise.

“As we move to a more global schedule, do the American players who are used to playing all their golf in America want to travel outside the United States twelve times a year to play tournament golf? That is a consideration,” McIlroy said.

“Would it be acceptable to the rest of the (PGA) membership if (defectors from LIV) come back having seen their contract and they are potentially hundreds of millions of dollars ahead of the people who stayed financially? That is a consideration.

“It’s not so much about the here and now. It’s a little bit, but it’s also about what this thing will look like in 10, 15, 20 years.”