Golf

Jon Rahm rules out replacing Rory McIlroy on PGA Tour policy board

Jon Rahm (left) has no desire to replace Rory McIlroy on the PGA Tour’s policy board (Jane Barlow/PA)
Jon Rahm (left) has no desire to replace Rory McIlroy on the PGA Tour’s policy board (Jane Barlow/PA) Jon Rahm (left) has no desire to replace Rory McIlroy on the PGA Tour’s policy board (Jane Barlow/PA)

Jon Rahm has backed Rory McIlroy’s decision to resign from the PGA Tour policy board and has no interest in replacing his Ryder Cup team-mate.

The news was revealed by PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan in a memo to members late on Tuesday, with McIlroy citing “professional and personal commitments” for standing down as a player-director.

Hours earlier, the world number two insisted progress was being made in talks over the future of men’s professional golf, but a fear that “loose lips sink ships” meant it was being kept under wraps.

McIlroy has been LIV Golf’s most vocal critic and admitted he felt like a “sacrificial lamb” when a shock deal between LIV’s Saudi backers and the PGA Tour and DP World Tour was announced in June.

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy Rory McIlroy has resigned from the PGA Tour’s policy board (Zac Goodwin/PA)

The PGA Tour are now also assessing potential funding from alternative private equity sources and McIlroy was asked if he enjoyed being part of such discussions during a press conference ahead of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

“Not particularly, no,” McIlroy said. “Not what I signed for when I went on the board. But the game of professional golf has been in flux for the last two years.”

Asked on Wednesday if he would be interested in replacing McIlroy, Rahm said: “Absolutely no chance.

“I’ve been asked a couple times if I have any interest, and I’m not going to spend, I don’t know how many meetings they have, but they are six, seven-hour plus long. I’m not here for that.

“As regards to Rory, he’s obviously been put in a situation where a lot has been expected of him, and I don’t know the exact reason why he left the board.

“But I certainly wouldn’t blame somebody like him to just want to focus a bit more on his game and his family and enjoy the bit of time he’s truly earned. Again, it’s a big commitment for somebody to be part of it.”

McIlroy first joined the PGA Tour’s player advisory council in 2019 and went on to serve as its chairman in 2021, roles which Rahm feels may have had an impact on McIlroy’s on-course performance.

“I think it is a significant commitment, so it could have an effect,” the Masters champion said.

“It’s not only the meetings. It’s the phone calls and the players wanting to talk to you. So those hours you spent on the golf course are a little bit busier.

“So I think it could hinder a little bit, and there’s a reason probably why I can’t recall any great player being a full-time board member and winning tournaments and majors at the same time, at least in recent history.”

Announcing the news, Monahan praised McIlroy’s commitment to the PGA Tour in a memo sent to the Northern Irishman’s fellow players.

“During his tenure, Rory’s insight has been instrumental in helping shape the success of the Tour and his willingness to thoughtfully voice his opinion has been especially impactful,” Monahan wrote.

“Given the extraordinary time and effort that Rory – and all of his fellow player directors – have invested in the Tour during this unprecedented, transformational period in our history, we certainly understand and respect his decision to step down in order to focus on his game and his family.”

The remaining player-directors – Tiger Woods, Patrick Cantlay, Charley Hoffman, Peter Malnati and Webb Simpson – will elect a successor to serve McIlroy’s unexpired term, which runs until the end of 2024.