PGA Tour

McIlroy says no to Premier Golf League

Rory McIlroy (Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy (Getty Images)

Mexico City - World number one Rory McIlroy has rejected the idea of playing in the proposed Premier Golf League, saying Wednesday he was against the concept.

The 30-year-old Northern Irishman, a four-time major champion, spoke on the eve of the WGC Mexico Championship.

"For me, I'm out," McIlroy said. "My position is I'm against it until there may come a day that I can't be against it. If everyone else goes, I might not have a choice, but at this point, I don't like what they are proposing."

The planned league would feature 48 players, 12 four-man teams, playing 18 events around the world for $10 million in overall prize money with a season-ending team championship. The proposed venture would start in 2022.

"The more I have thought about it, the more I don't like it," McIlroy said.

"The one thing as a professional golfer in my position that I value is the fact that I have autonomy and freedom over everything that I do. I pick and choose. This is a perfect example. Some guys this week made the choice to not 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 where it 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.

"I've never been one for being told what to do and I like to have that autonomy and freedom over my career and I feel like I would give that up by going to play this other league."

It would be all-but impossible to play every event in the new league and maintain US PGA Tour minimum commitments of 15 events a season.

Golfweek reported that seven top players attended a presentation by the Premier Golf League last week at the Genesis Invitational, including England's Justin Rose and Americans Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau.

Mickelson and 15-time major winner Tiger Woods are among the stars being eyed by the Premier Golf League, which in concept is similar to the idea Australian star Greg Norman had in the 1990s for an elite-level tour -- the genesis for the WGC events.

Norman's idea had many critics, among them golf icon Arnold Palmer, and McIlroy sees himself in a similar role with the latest bid for an elite-only circuit.

"I would like to be on the right side of history with this one, just sort of as Arnold was with the whole Greg Norman thing in the '90s," McIlroy said. "I value a lot of other things over money."

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