Rory McIlroy has pushed for elevated events and increased purse strings on the PGA calendar, but he’s notably MIA for the primary rookie tournament, Sentry, which takes place this week.
Rory McIlroy finished 2022 on perhaps the highest level, in a very long time at least. He soared to the top of OWGR as the World No. 1, taking a FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai titles, three titles, and a top-10 finish in every discipline, including coming close to The Open (where he finished third).
He has also proven his loyalty to the PGA. Being the company’s man—he sits on the PGA Tour’s policy board—it’s no surprise he’s taken a strong stance against the recalcitrant LIV league, forming a new sports association with Tiger Woods that complements PGA, TGL under the umbrella of their sports venture TMRW Sports.
Recognizing the threat LIV posed as it poached big names in the sport, they rallied forces to commit to 13 high-profile events, with the PGA opening coffers to create more attractive wages to prevent any more defections in Greg Norman’s lucrative golf league.
To make his loyalties stand clear, he rises A three-time major winner in November“Greg needs to go” about the LIV commissioner.
But January ended in Kapalua, Hawaii, at the start of what should be a strong show of unity at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Given the Tiger’s constant physical challenges, it left Rory McIlroy fully fit to lead the charge in the kind of high-altitude event he has prompted so many of his peers to commit themselves to.
What kind of message would you send about these events if no golfer played alongside them? All other 39 qualified players participate. You’re allowed to miss one of these 13 events, but in all honesty, no one expected McIlroy to blow the first one.
Rory McIlroy to miss Sentry Tournament of Champions: what does that mean?
It’s a bad look at an already fractured and troubled sport that continues to reject any common ground, which only seems to hurt golf fans. Many people have praised the PGA’s increased generosity toward players, even if some say it came as a result of the Saudi-backed payments made on the LIV Tour. Everyone else seems happy to show up in Hawaii for the guaranteed $2.7 million they’ll get on Sentry.
McIlroy’s sudden decision appears to be a personal choice, as he’s only played there once and probably just wanted more time before the rest of the season gets underway. One expected him to outgrow his personal playing preferences here and understand the bigger picture at stake.
But he leaves the rest of us marveling at the lack of insight into his leadership role in the PGA. Disappointing to say the least.
The Champions League kicks off on Thursday, January 5th.