Rory McIlroy stepped down from the PGA Tour policy board, the PGA Tour announced on Tuesday. The news came one day after the 12-man group met at the Tour's headquarters in Ponte Vedra, Florida, to discuss the state of negotiations with the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, in addition to a number of other suitors, to house commercial operations under a new for-profit entity dubbed PGA Tour Enterprises. A Dec. 31 deadline for the agreement to be solidified had been set, though it reportedly could be pushed back over antitrust concerns and player demands. 

Playing in Dubai this week at the 2023 DP World Tour Championship, McIlroy explained his resignation following an opening 71 that put him four strokes off the 18-hole pace. The 34-year-old has already wrapped up his fifth Race to Dubai crown thanks to his regular-season efforts.

"I just think I've got a lot going on in my life between my golf game, my family and my growing investment portfolio, my involvement in TGL," McIlroy said Thursday. "I just felt like something had to give. I just didn't feel like I could commit the time and the energy into doing that."

The Northern Irishman first joined the Player Advisory Council in 2019 and went onto serve as the PAC Chairman in 2021. McIlroy's roles and responsibilities off the golf course increased as the tumultuous relationship with LIV Golf began to surface during his tenure as a player director the last two years.

"I don't mind being busy, but I like being busy doing my own stuff," McIlroy said. "Something had to give, and there's guys that are on that board that are spending a lot more time and a lot more energy on it than I am. It's in good hands, and I felt like it was the right time to step off."

The PGA Tour also announced Tuesday the addition of Valero Energy executive Joe Gorder to the board. Gorder will serve as the fifth independent director, replacing Randall Stephenson, who resigned in early July after citing concerns over the agreement with the Saudi PIF.

In addition to Gorder's announcement came the news that Patrick Cantlay was reappointed as the fifth player director for a term from 2024-26. McIlroy recently detailed his relationship with Cantlay when describing the skirmish between he and Joe LaCava at the 2023 Ryder Cup. 

Ed Herlihy will continue as policy board chairman, while Mark Flaherty will serve a second four-year term from 2024-27.

"Given the extraordinary time and effort that Rory — and all of his fellow Player Directors — have invested in the Tour during this unprecedented, transformational period in our history, we certainly understand and respect his decision to step down in order to focus on his game and his family," PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan wrote in a memo to membership.

"Per the PGA Tour Tournament Regulations, whenever the office of any Player Director becomes vacant due to resignation, the remaining Player Directors elect a successor to serve his unexpired term," Monahan wrote. "Rory's term expires at the end of 2024."

With the addition of Gorder and the departure of McIlroy, the current structure of the PGA Tour policy board is as follows:

  • Player Directors: Patrick Cantlay, Tiger Woods, Charley Hoffman, Peter Malnati, Webb Simpson
  • Independent Directors:  Ed Herlihy, Jimmy Dunne, Mark Flaherty, Ed Gorder, Mary Meeker, and PGA of America Director John Lindert.