Rory McIlroy: "A Champions League for golf"


Rory McIlroy: "A Champions League for golf"
© Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images Sport

During the Genesis Invitational, Rory McIlroy was asked about the future of global golf, and he shared his ideas for the future of the sport once the circuit wars come to an end: a sort of Champions League modeled after football, bringing together the top 80 players in the world from various circuits.

Rory McIlroy, statements

Since the emergence of LIV Golf and the upheaval it has caused in the established order, Rory McIlroy has been vocal on this topic, expressing strong opinions against LIV and its players, before slightly altering his stance recently, especially after Jon Rahm's departure to the circuit led by Greg Norman.

The Northern Irishman recently stated his intention to focus more on his game and be less outspoken on the issue. However, he is frequently questioned, and he often has insightful remarks. And his natural inclination quickly resurfaces...

Rory responded to an American journalist's question about the future of golf at the Genesis Invitational, and what he had to say could inspire decision-makers, although his voice will likely not be decisive when the much-discussed merger takes place and when the heads of the PGA Tour, LIV, and possibly the DP World Tour sit down (hopefully soon) around a table.

"We could draw inspiration from the Champions League and create a circuit that brings together the top 80 players in the world... The four-time major winner is no longer the head of the player council at the PGA Tour. But his opinion matters.

"We should try to create a circuit reserved for the top 80 players in the world. I believe everything is leading to a decision around this format. In my opinion, it could resemble something like the Champions League in football.

The best players from all other circuits would feed into this league, with a qualification system. Ideally, like in football, there would be a flagship circuit that would bring together the strongest players from each 'secondary' circuit every year." The United States, but not only McIlroy also mentioned that this elite "league" could potentially have tournaments primarily based in the United States, but not exclusively.

"The USA represents the largest golf market in the world, and that needs to be taken into account. Additionally, there are historic courses here that host Signature Events (Pebble Beach, Bay Hill, Riviera, Muirfield Village...), and some of them seem essential to me.

But there's no reason why, in other parts of the world, we couldn't gather the very best players for a tournament. I think it would benefit the entire golf market, sponsors, media..." In his response, Rory mentions various locations: the Emirates, South Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe, and a majority of events in the United States, including the majors, totaling just over 20 tournaments.

Is Rory's proposal utopian? Realistic? Even he has doubts. "I've said it before, everyone has their own interests in this sport, and that's even more true when you have a fairly fractured landscape overall. Aligning everyone's interests and trying to convince all stakeholders that this is the right thing to do for golf as a whole won't be easy. But for now, it's simply about getting everyone on the same page." And that's already a challenge...

Rory Mcilroy