By Daniel Rapaport
Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images
Rory McIlroy, the world's top-ranked golfer, has shut down the possibility of committing to the Premier Golf League, a new upstart venture seeking to take on the PGA Tour.
"The more I've thought about it, the more I don't like it," McIlroy said at a press conference on Wednesday before the WGC-Mexico Championship.
McIlroy elaborated on his decision, explaining that he does not like the idea of being locked in to 18 tournaments around the world. Under the proposed rules of the PGL, all 48 players in the league would be required to play all 18 scheduled events to receive their guaranteed money, which for some players reportedly could be upwards of nine figures. Players would be allowed to play in the four major championships, but both the PGL and PGA Tour have acknowledged that players would not be able to play both circuits. It's one of the other.
"The one thing as a professional golfer in my position that I value is the fact that I have autonomy and freedom over everything I do," McIlroy said. "This is a perfect example—some guys this week made the choice not to come to Mexico. If you go and play this other golf league, you're not going to have that choice.
"I read a thing the other day that said if you take the money, they can tell you what to do, so if you don't take the money, they can't tell you what to do. And I think that's my thing—I've never been one for being told what to do, and I'd like to have that autonomy and freedom over my career, and I feel like I would give that up going to play for the other league.
McIlroy did, however, acknowledge a possible scenario that leaves him no choice but to join the PGL.
"For me, I'm out. My position is I'm against it until there may come a day where I can't be against. If everyone else goes, I might not have a choice. But at this point, I don't like what they're proposing."
Asked whether he thinks everyone going is a possibility: "It's very split at the minute, I think."
McIlroy is the first high-profile player to commit one way or the other on the PGL. Most players who have commented said they are listening to the proposals, but few have gone further than to say they're in the information-gathering stage.