MIAMI, April 25 ― Rory McIlroy said yesterday he is ready to return to the PGA Tour's policy board if wanted, believing he can help reunite the golfing world following the acrimonious civil war with LIV Golf.

McIlroy stepped down from the board in a surprise move last November, saying he wanted to concentrate on his own game rather than the off-course politics that had dominated golf since the emergence of the Saudi-backed LIV circuit.

However reports this week have said the four-time major champion is poised to rejoin the board after Webb Simpson tendered his resignation on the condition that McIlroy take his place.


Asked about the reports yesterday ahead of this week's Zurich Classic in New Orleans, McIlroy would not confirm that he was set to make a dramatic return to the board.

“Not as of yet, no,” McIlroy replied when asked if he was able to confirm his reported return.

McIlroy admitted however that he had discussed replacing Simpson following an approach by the American, adding that he felt he could help accelerate the progress of merger talks between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf.


“I think I can be helpful,” McIlroy said. “I don't think there's been much progress made in the last eight months, and I was hopeful that there would be. I think I could be helpful to the process.

“But only if people want me involved, I guess. When Webb and I talked and he talked about potentially coming off the board, I said, 'Look, if it was something that other people wanted, I would gladly take that seat,' and that was the conversation that we had.

“At the end of the day, it's not quite up to me to just come back on the board. There's a process that has to be followed. But I'm willing to do it if that's what people want.”

McIlroy emerged as one of the PGA Tour's staunchest defenders during the turmoil triggered by LIV, which lured a slew of major-winning top talent with lucrative signing bonuses.

However McIlroy has taken a more conciliatory tone in the months since the PGA Tour and LIV announced plans to join forces last year.

McIlroy said yesterday that a unified golfing circuit was now inevitable.

“I think it's the only way forward for the game of golf,” McIlroy stated.

The Northern Irishman acknowledged that while a residue of bad blood remained, it was time to draw a line under the acrimony.

“We obviously realize the game is not unified right now for a reason, and there's still some hard feelings and things that need to be addressed,” McIlroy said.

“But I think at this point for the good of the game, we all need to put those feelings aside and all move forward together.”

McIlroy said his original decision to step down from the board was taken after the realization his duties were taking a toll.

“It was maybe just taking away some time from me pursuing things or spending time doing things that I wanted to do at home, and having to hop on calls two, three times a week,” McIlroy said.

“The whole thing started to take a toll, as it has on a lot of the players.

“We're golfers at the end of the day. We don't need to be trying to run a US$15 billion business. We need to go out there and play golf and let the business people do the business things.” ― AFP