Rory McIlroy has resigned from his role as a player director on the PGA Tour’s policy board.
The abrupt move comes as a shock – with the policy board set to play a crucial role in the shaping of professional golf’s future in the coming weeks and months.
Talks are ongoing between the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund [PIF] over a framework agreement to join forces in a new entity.
There are doubts over a final deal being struck before the December 31 deadline as big-money American investors look to gazump the Saudis.
McIlroy, who spent five years across the player advisory council and the policy board, was discussing the negotiations on Tuesday before news broke of his resignation.
When asked whether he was enjoying the administrative role, McIlroy replied: “Not particularly, no.”
The world no.2 added: “Not what I signed for when I went on the board. But the game of professional golf has been in flux for the last two years.”
Having been a fierce critic of the PIF-funded LIV Golf breakaway league, McIlroy was set to vote on any final deal between the Saudis and the PGA Tour, along with Tiger Woods and five other player directors.
The Northern Irishman recently admitted Saudi investment was his preferred option for the PGA Tour, but remains deeply opposed to LIV Golf.
McIlroy, along with the rest of his peers, was blindsided by the framework agreement which was announced in June.
Meanwhile, McIlroy’s resignation comes days after details emerged of his strained relationship with fellow player director Patrick Cantlay.
McIlroy feuded with Cantlay’s caddie Joe LaCava at the Ryder Cup and recently told the Irish Independent: “My relationship with Cantlay is average at best.
“We don’t have a ton in common and see the world quite differently.”
Referencing a heated conversation with other Team USA caddies, McIlroy recalled saying: “Joe LaCava used to be a nice guy when he was caddying for Tiger [Woods], and now he’s caddying for that d*** he’s turned into an a**.”
However, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan insisted McIlroy resigned for ‘personal and professional reasons’.
Monahan said: “During his tenure, Rory’s insight has been instrumental in helping shape the success of the Tour and his willingness to thoughtfully voice his opinion has been especially impactful.
“Given the extraordinary time and effort that Rory – and all of his fellow player directors – have invested in the Tour during this unprecedented, transformational period in our history, we certainly understand and respect his decision to step down in order to focus on his game and his family.”