Jay Monahan Heaps Praise On ‘Extraordinary’ Rory McIlroy

 Jay Monahan talks to the media before the 2023 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass
Jay Monahan talks to the media before the 2023 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has praised the impact of Rory McIlroy amid the LIV Golf threat.

Over the last 12 months, the Northern Irishman has frequently stood up for the interests of the PGA Tour in the media, and has also emerged as one of the key figures in the changes coming to the Tour next year that will see limited-field, no-cut events introduced.

Monahan was speaking ahead of this week’s Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass, where McIlroy is hoping for his second title after winning the event in 2019. Monahan was first asked whether McIlroy could one day have his own tournament along the lines of greats of the game, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods.

He responded: “I envision a lot of things. I mean, that would be - I mean I don't want to get ahead of that because I don't want to put Rory in that spot. But I think that the thing I will say is that his leadership, coupled with his extraordinary play, all the trend lines are when you look at Jack, when you look at Arnold, when you look at Tiger, that's an opportunity that would be in his future."

One of the extraordinary aspects of the World No.3’s workload over a tumultuous period in the game’s history is that he has excelled on the course, including as recently as last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, despite taking on a significant amount of responsibility off it. That’s something Monahan was quick to draw attention to.

He said: “When you look back over the last 12 to 18 months, Rory sat in a board meeting for seven hours last Tuesday night and finished one shot off the lead last week. I mean, it's extraordinary. He was in the room this morning for an hour and a half, and he was here with you all today.”

McIlroy was one of the leading figures in a player-only meeting held in Delaware before last year’s BMW Championship to determine a path forward for the PGA Tour amid the emergence of LIV Golf. Monahan explained that, since then, McIlroy has only grown stronger as a leader.

He said: “The thing that's been so impressive about what he's done and having seen where we were coming out of Delaware last year to where we are now, his leadership has manifested itself in a way where he has a very good grasp on and balance on the full picture and on the entire membership, and where we were last summer to where we are now is largely a reflection on the amount of time and energy he's put into understanding that.”

Earlier, McIlroy spoke of his desire to eventually concentrate more on his game. He said: "Hopefully the majority of my time will be spent on concentrating on getting ready for golf tournaments and trying to be the best player that I can be. Not that I feel like it's taken away any of that, but it might give me a bit more free time to do other things that I enjoy as well."