June 14, 2024
Tiger Woods

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods have been friends and allies for more than a decade, but the impact of the LIV Golf has taken its toll on the relationship of the PGA Tour’s top duo
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have long had one of the strongest friendships in professional golf, but the civil war sparked by LIV Golf knows no bounds with the pair “falling out”.

Tiger Woods and McIlroy have not only been close friends for many years but they are also business partners, yet they seem to have differing views on the future of the game. McIlroy revealed on Wednesday he had failed in a bid to return to the PGA Tour Policy Board.

The Northern Irishman was a player director and had a seat on the board until he resigned in November amid frustrations over the direction of the tour and the impact the role was having on his game and personal life. But he accepted a plea from Webb Simpson last month, who wanted to resign from his role on the condition that McIlroy replaced him.

Atop the policy board’s agenda is the ongoing negotiations between the tour and the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF), which bankrolls LIV Golf, over a merger deal. McIlroy was a staunch critic of the breakaway tour, but his stance has softened in recent times and he has pushed for efforts to be made to reunify the game.

According to Golf Digest, Woods sees things differently. The 15-time major champion is one of six player directors on the tour and is at the heart of talks with PIF, and he was not keen on McIlroy returning to the policy board.

Although Woods’ relationship with McIlroy remains cordial, their friendship has “soured” due to their opposing views of the future of the game, with the pair having a “falling out of sorts”.

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are not just long-time friends but also business partners ( Image: Getty)

McIlroy said ahead of the Wells Fargo Championship on Wednesday: “I think it got pretty complicated and pretty messy, and I think with the way it happened, I think it opened up some old wounds and scar tissue from things that have happened before. There was a subset of people on the board that were maybe uncomfortable with me coming back on for some reason.”

The consequences of the Woods-McIlroy alliance are sure to have awkward consequences. The pair are co-founders of TMRW Sports, the organisation behind the 2025 launch of TGL, an indoor tech-infused golf league with made-for-TV matches starting on ESPN in January.

McIlroy told GolfWeekly last year that he and Woods talk “Every other day almost”. He added: “He’s a great resource, and if there’s anything I ever need to ask, we don’t live too far away from each other in Florida. He’s shown me some things that I don’t know if he’s shown anyone else but Charlie [Woods’ son], [Justin Thomas] as well.

“He’s the biggest golf nerd I’ve ever come across. He knows everything about everything, he watches everything. He lets on that he doesn’t but he watches so much.”

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