Rory McIlroy says PGA Tour 'in a worse place' with Saudis after Jimmy Dunne's resignation

Rory McIlroy says PGA Tour 'in a worse place' with Saudis after Jimmy Dunne's resignation

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Rory McIlroy called Jimmy Dunne’s resignation from the PGA Tour policy board “really, really disappointing” and said his confidence that the circuit can negotiate a deal with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment has been rocked.

Dunne – who was an architect of the framework agreement that ended years of costly litigation between the Tour and the Saudi-funded LIV Golf league and opened the door to a possible deal that would combine both products under a single, for-profit entity – announced Monday that he was resigning from the board because of the slow pace of negotiations and his perceived diminished role.

“Since the players now outnumber the independent directors on the board and no meaningful progress has been made towards a transaction with the PIF I feel like my vote and my role is utterly superfluous,” Dunne wrote in his resignation letter.

McIlroy, who has become an outspoken proponent of a deal with PIF, was denied a spot on the board last week but was named to the “transaction subcommittee,” which will spearhead the day-to-day negotiations. But the loss of Dunne will be a blow to those talks, the world No. 2 said.

“Honestly I think it's a huge loss for the PGA Tour if they are trying to get this deal done with the PIF and trying to unify the game,” McIlroy said. “Jimmy was basically the relationship, the sort of conduit between the PGA Tour and PIF.

“It's been really unfortunate that he has not been involved for the last few months, and I think part of the reason that everything is stalling at the minute is because of that.”

By most accounts, McIlroy and Dunne have been the two loudest voices supporting a deal with PIF that would combine the Tour, LIV Golf and the DP World Tour, and during his testimony before a U.S. Senate subcommittee last year, Dunne explained he convinced Tour commissioner Jay Monahan to reach out to PIF and was the first representative to meet face to face with the fund’s governor, Yasir Al-Rumayyan.

“It's really, really disappointing and I think the Tour is in a worse place because of it,” McIlroy continued. “We'll see where it goes from here and we'll see what happens.

“I would say my confidence level on something getting done before last week was as low as it had been and then with this news of Jimmy resigning and knowing the relationship he has with the other side and how much warmth there is from the other side, it's concerning.”

Dunne was not named to the new PGA Tour Enterprises' board of directors, which was formed this year and will ultimately decide if there will be a deal with PIF, and he said in his resignation letter that he has not “been asked to take part in negotiations with the PIF since June 2023.”