(Reuters) – World number one Rory McIlroy has distanced himself from the prospect of taking part in the Premier Golf League (PGL) as he prefers to have autonomy over his career choices.
The British-based World Golf Group last month unveiled plans for a global tour it hopes to launch in 2022 that would consist of 18 yearly tournaments — each with prize money of $10 million — and feature 48 of the game’s top players.
Former world number one Tiger Woods said last week he had been approached by the PGL and was gathering information about something which could be a more lucrative alternative to the PGA Tour.
Northern Ireland’s McIlroy is the first top player to reject the idea outright.
“For me, I’m out. My position is I’m against it until there may come a day that I can’t be against it,” McIlroy said ahead of this week’s WGC-Mexico Championship.
“If everyone else goes, I might not have a choice, but at this point I don’t like what they’re proposing.”
The PGL has said it wanted to work with established tours rather than as a breakaway circuit, but the U.S. PGA and European Tours have been all but dismissive about the proposed circuit.
For McIlroy, a key sticking point is that the PGL proposal would not allow him the freedom to make his own schedule as it would be mandatory for players to participate in each event.
As such, those competing in the PGL would be highly unlikely to maintain an active status of the PGA Tour, meaning golfers would essentially have to chose between the two.
“The more I’ve thought about it, the more I don’t like it,” said four-times major champion McIlroy.
“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. … If you go and play this other golf league, you’re not going to have that choice.”
McIlroy used the lucrative WGC-Mexico Championship as an example given that big names like Woods, Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler and Justin Rose have decided not to compete at Club de Golf Chapultepec.
“I’ve never been one for being told what to do,” said McIlroy. “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.”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru and Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ed Osmond)