“Big Boy Stuff:” Rory McIlroy details important PGA Tour, Saudi PIF meeting after Memorial round

Key stakeholders from the PGA Tour and the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF)—LIV Golf’s beneficiary—will meet on Friday in New York to discuss the future of men’s professional golf.

It will mark the first in-person meeting between the newly established ‘Transaction Committee,’ a subsect of PGA Tour Enterprises that includes Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, player liaison Joe Ogilvie, Fenway Sports Chair John Henry, and PGA Tour Enterprises Chair and Valero Energy Executive Joe Gorder.

McIlroy even considered flying to The Big Apple after his second round at the Memorial, but he will instead tune in remotely from Columbus, per Bob Harig of Sports Illustrated.

“There’s going to be people in that room on the PGA Tour side who are going to take the lead,” McIlroy said, per Harig.

“And it’s not going to be Adam, Tiger or I. That’s going to be Jay, Joe Gorder, Joe Ogilvie, John Henry. It’s going to be the business guys. We’re there to maybe give a perspective from a player’s point of view. This is a negotiation about an investment in the PGA Tour Enterprises, this is big boy stuff. And I’ll certainly be doing more listening than I will be doing talking.”

Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, The Masters

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods at the 2023 Masters.
Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images

McIlroy also does not know how the PIF will affect golf’s future, nor does he know how much or how little it will invest in PGA Tour Enterprises.

“I think depending on what the [Department of Justice] allows, it might have to be a very passive investment. I don’t know what’s in their head. I don’t know if that is something that they are willing to do. We’ll find out,” McIlroy said.

“There’s a lot of stuff that goes beyond my knowledge and expertise in terms of the investment side of things. And certainly the regulatory side of things as well. We’re on this transaction committee to sort of give a perspective from a player. But that’s going to be a conversation between [the Strategic Sports Group] and the executives of the Tour.”

Ironically, McIlroy revealed this development on Jun. 6, 2024, exactly one year after Monahan and PIF Governor Yasir al-Rumayyan shocked the world on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” During that appearance, the two leaders revealed that the PGA Tour had struck a framework agreement with the PIF, signaling an end to golf’s civil war.

However, one year later, the two tours remain divided, with major champions playing on both LIV Golf and the PGA Tour. The top players from both circuits now play together just four times per year at the majors, which includes next week’s U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.

But McIlroy softening his stance on LIV has served as one key difference between this year and last.

If you recall, on Jun. 7, 2023—the day after the bombshell announcement—McIlroy called himself a “Sacrificial Lamb.”

Rory McIlroy, PGA Tour, the Memorial Tournament

Rory McIlroy plays a tee shot during the first round of the 2024 Memorial Tournament.
Photo by Ben Jared/PGA Tour via Getty Images

After championing the PGA Tour’s cause for over a year, he felt Monahan and tour brass went behind his back and struck a deal with LIV. They did, in fact, do just that, leading McIlroy to take a more world-view approach related to the Saudi-backed circuit.

He reaffirmed this Thursday as well.

“[LIV Golf players are] contracted to play 14 events, but the other 38 weeks of the year, you’re free to do what you want,” McIlroy said.

“The only thing is there are so many tours and so many golf tournaments. There are only a certain amount of weeks in the year. That’s the complicated part. Trying to figure out which tournaments go where, when do we play them, how many players, what players.”

All of these variables need to be considered, and earlier in the week, McIlroy alluded to 2026 as a target date for settling these logistics. At least some progress is being made.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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