The PGA Tour has confirmed that Rory McIlroy will forfeit a hefty $3 million for skipping a tournament after his disappointing finish at the Masters.
After missing the cut at Augusta, McIlroy withdrew from the RBC Heritage, one of the PGA Tour's 12 "designated events." The events offer a higher purse, but also come with an attendance expectation from the game's top players this year. Players can miss only one of the 12 events this season; McIlroy already missed the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in January. As a result, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said, McIlroy will forfeit $3 million of the $12 million he was slated to receive as part of the Tour's Player Impact Program.
"When we made the commitment to this schedule for the Player Impact Program," Monahan told reporters at the Wells Fargo Classic, "we adjusted for one opt-out. And then for any second opt-out, you forfeit the 25 percent unless there was a medical issue. So based on that criteria it's actually fairly cut and dry."
McIlroy conceded Tuesday that he understood the program's requirements and the consequences if he didn't play.
“I needed a break for me,” McIlroy said. “Obviously, after the disappointment of Augusta, and it’d been a pretty taxing 12 months mentally, so it was nice to just try to disconnect and get away from it. But it’s nice to come back and feel refreshed. I think I’m in a better headspace than I was.”
Next year, there will be no mandatory requirement for participation in designated events. The Tour believes that the enticement of new large-purse, small-field, no-cut events — not unlike the LIV Golf tournaments which inspired the Tour's version — will be enough to fill out fields with strong players.
McIlroy's decision put the Tour in an odd spot. He's been the PGA Tour's most vocal player advocate over the last year in the ongoing battle with LIV Golf. But rules are rules, especially in golf. McIlroy will have the chance to win back that $3 million starting this weekend, even if the green jacket remains elusive.