McIlroy Won't Rejoin PGA Tour Anytime Soon, But May Play More In U.S.
Rory McIlroy yesterday said it "definitely looks like I won’t be taking PGA Tour membership up for the next couple years," despite the favorable reception he has received in the U.S. since leading The Masters for three rounds and winning last week's U.S. Open. McIlroy said, "After what happened last week I don’t know what way my schedule is going to work or if we are going to plan anything differently. The reception that I’ve had in the U.S. since The Masters basically has been incredible and it would be a shame if I didn’t play in the States a little bit more. Because I, personally, I love it over there.” McIlroy elected not to maintain his PGA Tour card this season after joining in '10, and he said, "Last year when I joined the Tour and played in the FedExCup and everything -- I just felt it was just a little too much for me to play both tours, it’s very difficult. I proved to myself and other people that not taking my membership up in the States this year has worked for me, winning my first major and everything so hopefully I’ll get to play over there more." Still, he said, "I have to find the right balance. ... It’s not to say that I’m never going to take it up again because you know as I said I do love playing golf over there and spending time in the States. I am aware of how young I am as well and you know I just don’t want to play so much golf so early that by the time I’m 30 I’m sort of burnt out from the game. I don’t want to wind up in that situation" (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 6/22). More McIlroy: "I love playing in the States and I love going over there and I love spending time there, but … I'm never going to leave the European Tour. It's my home tour and it’s the tour that gave me my opportunities at the start of my career" ("The Dan Patrick Show," 6/22).
AS GOOD AS IT GETS: SI's Joe Posnanski writes there "was something more happening" at Congressional Country Club last week "than the arrival of golf's next great player." There was a "shift, a welcome one, in the game." Posnanski: "For years, golf had been dominated by [Tiger] Woods, and make no mistake, that was thrilling. ... But Woods was a distant champion. He made no pretense otherwise. ... McIlroy is different. He lets people in" (SI, 6/27 issue). In Boston, Michael Whitmer writes, "With the face of golf temporarily sidelined by injury, permanently scarred by indiscretion, and spinning his wheels as his world ranking keeps sliding, the game could use a fresh face. For those who have felt cheated or offended or disappointed by the actions of Tiger Woods, do a little research on McIlroy and see what you find. You just might embrace it" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/23). In Orlando, George Diaz wrote, "Professional golf needs him. ... Has a sense of humor. Doesn't spit. Doesn't curse. Isn't an animatronics robot. In other words, he is no Tiger." So far, the "label on McIlroy is 'good guy.'" Diaz: "Simply put, he's got that 'it' factor" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 6/22). GOLF WORLD's Ron Sirak writes under the header, "Unassuming And Un-Tigerlike, McIlroy Wins On Many Levels" (GOLF WORLD, 6/27 issue).
ONE STEP AT A TIME: In West Palm Beach, Greg Stoda wrote under the header, "Don't Tab Rory McIlroy As The Next Tiger Woods Just Yet." It is "still Woods who moves the needle" for golf. Stoda: "No way does McIlroy, an engaging lad from Northern Ireland, generate beyond-golf interest in the manner the personally embattled and professionally absent and injured and slumping Woods still does whenever he competes. ... There's simply no question that Woods, even as a polarizing figure or perhaps because he is one, makes the golf world go 'round" (PALM BEACH POST, 6/22). GOLFWEEK's Jeff Rude writes, "Though hyperbole sped on a fast track at soft Congressional, it is way too premature and unfair to suggest McIlroy is the next Woods. ... At the moment, let's not talk about Jack Nicklaus when McIlroy is one major title behind John Daly and has but three victories in America and Europe combined" (GOLFWEEK, 6/24 issue).
GOLF'S POWER BROKER: The GLOBE & MAIL noted it "could easily be argued these days" that agent Chubby Chandler is "indeed the most powerful man in golf." Through his International Sports Management, Chandler represents three of the past four major winners -- McIlroy, Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen -- as well as Lee Westwood, "giving him three of the world’s top 10 ranked players." Golf World Editor Chris Jones: "He could bring down a tournament if his biggest players decided not to play in it. Potentially, that's a dangerous amount of power to hold." While Chandler "doesn’t hide the fact he wields a lot of influence at this time, he doesn’t think that’s such a bad thing." He said, "I don't think we use it unfairly" (GLOBEANDMAIL.com, 6/22).