Mark SchlabachESPN Senior Writer4 Minute Read
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Georgia — Rory McIlroy, a highly-acclaimed four-time major champion in the PGA Tour, has officially stepped down as a player director from the tour’s influential policy board following its controversial decision to enter a partnership with the LIV Golf League. McIlroy, who holds the No. 2 position in the world golf rankings, resigned from the board due to personal and professional commitments, ending his expected tenure until 2024.
Despite his resignation, McIlroy’s departure was met with understanding and respect from the tour’s officials. The decision came as a surprise to many, considering McIlroy’s vocal opposition to the LIV Golf League, which had been luring star golfers away from the PGA Tour with lucrative contracts.
McIlroy was taken aback by the PGA Tour’s move to form a partnership with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and the DP World Tour on June 6, a decision that he was only made aware of hours before it was announced. This came after he had strongly criticized the breakaway LIV Golf League. The relentless back-and-forth between the PGA Tour and the Saudi-funded league eventually led to a framework agreement that ended the legal tug-of-war between them. “At the end of the day, money talks, and you would rather have them as a partner,” McIlroy said in response to the situation.
President Tiger Woods will succeed McIlroy as player director for the unexpired term, and Joseph W. “Joe” Gorder has been unanimously approved to replace former independent director Randall Stephenson on the policy board. Despite his resignation, McIlroy, 34, remains one of the most dominant figures in professional golf and is determined to write a new chapter in his career before brandishing a golf club for the last time.
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