22 events? America and Saudi Arabia involved? The top 70 to 100 players? Rory McIlroy has described his utopia for golf in years to come…
Rory McIlroy says a world tour is his “dream scenario” for golf.
The four-time major champion mapped out his ideal schedule including nations such as Australia, South Africa, Japan and Singapore when speaking to John Huggan of Golf Digest.
Now accepting of LIV Golf’s existence and welcoming Saudi Arabian investment, McIlroy wants the game to mirror the global nature of Formula One.
The PGA Tour needs to “spread its swings” on an international scale according to the 34-year-old who’s set to tee it up at this week’s Dubai Invitational at Dubai Creek.
“Going forward, if everything is on the table, venues have to be a big part of the consideration,” he said. “We need to make sure the courses are worthy of the players who are going to be competing.
“My dream scenario is a world tour, with the proviso that corporate America has to remain a big part of it all. Saudi Arabia, too. That’s just basic economics. But there is an untapped commercial opportunity out there.
“Investors always want to make a return on their money. Revenues at the PGA Tour right now are about $2.3 billion. So how do we get that number up to four or six? To me, it is by looking outward.
“They need to think internationally and spread their wings a bit. I’ve been banging that drum for a while.”
McIlroy is no longer a member of the PGA Tour’s Policy Board as he looks to concentrate on adding to his crowded trophy cabinet in 2024.
Many of his victories in the professional sphere have come in countries such as the UAE, China, Canada and Hong Kong. His CV matches the variety of destinations he wishes to see one day in one big schedule, featuring the biggest stars.
“Whether they are rotated on the new global circuit, or we go with the same ones every year, I’m OK with either,” he added.
“The Australian Open, for example, should almost be the fifth major. The market down there is huge with potential. They love golf. They love sport. They have been starved of top-level golf. And the courses are so good.
“The South African Open is another I’d have in the mix. Then you have places like Singapore and Hong Kong and Japan. What a market Japan represents.
“That would be another opportunity. We could end up with something that resembles Formula One, but with a little more of an American presence.
“Throw in the four majors and you have a brilliant schedule for the top 70-100 guys, whatever the number is. We’d have, say a 22-event schedule. That would look pretty good to me.”
Rory McIlroy: LIV Golf could work in the style of the IPL
As of now, Rahm is still a member of the DP World Tour – something McIlroy now recognises. Nonetheless, he maintains Europe’s chances of a first away win since 2012 will be boosted if LIV’s new poster boy is on Luke Donald’s team.
“I was factually incorrect in my comments in the wake of Jon’s going to LIV,” he said.
“He’s still a member of the DP World Tour, so he is still eligible. I’ll take that one on the chin.
“All I was really trying to say was that we need Jon Rahm on the European team, whatever way that can happen. It’s not that we absolutely need him. But our chances are clearly better if he is there.”
The Ryder Cup inspires fire in McIlroy as we saw in Rome last year, and the tournament itself is golf’s most hotly-contested team event which will no doubt deliver more drama in New York next year.
Part of the Northern Irishman’s newfound acknowledgement of LIV Golf is the team aspect, which he could be open to competing in should it one day resemble cricket’s Indian Premier League which has grown popular since its inception in 2008.
“If it is done like the IPL cricket model, team competition has a chance in golf. I’ve said what I’ve said about LIV. I still think it is a confusing product. So what they need to do is lean more into the team stuff.
“If you want to make your team franchises valuable, especially if you’re not going to get world ranking points, then dive deep into team golf.
“I could see an eight-event schedule with four events in the spring and four events in the fall. If it was an IPL-like team thing, I would enjoy it hugely. There is an opportunity there to do more within the bigger ecosystem.”
What do you make of this Rory McIlroy-world tour dream? Is it possible? Tell us on X/Twitter!