Calmer Rory McIlroy less ’emotionally engaged’ in Tour’s direction

Calmer Rory McIlroy less 'emotionally engaged' in Tour's direction

Rory McIlroy doesn’t know whether the PGA Tour’s framework agreement with the Public Investment Fund and the DP World Tour will be finalized before the Dec. 31 deadline.

He’s too focused on trying to win a record fourth FedEx Cup title at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta come Sunday.

That’s a far cry from McIlroy’s mental state 12 months ago, when he felt the intense pressure as the PGA Tour’s de facto spokesperson in its battle for survival against LIV Golf.

McIlroy admitted that his game suffered due to the time focused on forming the PGA Tour’s path into the future. He then staged one of the most dramatic turnarounds of his storied career, climbing from 10 shots back of leader Scottie Scheffler to claim his third Cup title.

A year later, McIlroy is still on the player policy board, but he’s far less involved. While the outside world largely sees chaos, the Northern Irishman believes the state of the game is “more settled.” He’ll vote on items presented to the board, but he’ll leave all the financial and legal wrangling to the executives.

“Maybe less emotionally involved,” McIlroy said Wednesday when asked what is different from 12 months ago. “Last year it was to do with how can we make the product of the PGA Tour better, and I think I was really invested in that.

“When it comes to, like, governance and investment and all that … that doesn’t really — not that I don’t care about it — but it doesn’t excite me as much as making the product better and how can we make this the most competitive landscape to play professional golf, and how can we get all the best players to play together.

“That’s the stuff that excites me. The stuff that’s going on right now. … But, yeah, maybe just not as emotionally engaged on all of this other stuff.”

McIlroy will begin the tournament on Thursday three shots behind Scheffler and one behind Viktor Hovland. He has risen to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking with a streak of nine consecutive finishes of T9 or better.

That includes a runner-up at the U.S. Open, a win at the Scottish Open, and a T3 and solo fourth during the first two legs of the FedEx Cup playoffs. McIlroy finished five shots back of Hovland at last week’s BMW Championship in Chicago despite struggling mightily with his putter, which has led to a switch to the TaylorMade Spider putter he won with at East Lake last year.

“I practiced with it a good bit yesterday and it’s a familiar feel,” he said. “I’ve done really well with that putter over the last few years. I’ve had some of my best putting weeks of my career at this golf course on these greens with that putter, so hopefully I can rekindle that again this week.”

If McIlroy can find that winning form again come Sunday, he’ll add more records to his resume. He already owns the most FedEx Cup titles in history and is currently tied with Dustin Johnson with six career playoff victories.

McIlroy, who owns the longest active streak on tour with 28 consecutive rounds of par or better, is also seeking to become the first player to win the FedEx Cup in consecutive seasons.

Perhaps being a little less “emotionally engaged” in the future of the game is indeed paying dividends inside the ropes.

“I remember this time last year being on a board call at 7:30 in the morning on the Tuesday (before the Tour Championship), trying to get all that stuff ratified and get it passed through the board,” he said. “I’ve been able to focus a little bit more just on golf and my game and even able to take two days at home between Chicago and here, getting to spend some time with the girls. That’s been really nice.

“So, yeah, I would say everything’s just a little more balanced and a little more calm this year.”

—Field Level Media

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.