The Masters - Round One
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Rory McIlroy's decision Monday to withdraw from the 2023 RBC Heritage came as a surprise, and though no reason has been given by the world's No. 3 golfer, the move will come with a penalty. The PGA Tour will reportedly dock McIlroy $3 million of the $12 million he earned from his finish in the Player Impact Program last year, according to Sports Illustrated.

McIlroy finished runner up in the PIP -- a year-long evaluation of the most popular players who (theoretically) generate the most revenue for the PGA Tour -- last year to Tiger Woods. As he has already reportedly been awarded $9 million of the $12 million he earned in PIP funds, he will not be given the remaining $3 million owed to him due to missing the RBC Heritage. The Tour is effectively fining him $3 million, though it will not be money he has to pay the organization.

Why all of this over a WD?

Players who placed in the PIP (23 in 2022) are required to play all but one designated event in 2023 to receive their winnings. This was reported back in November after the 2023 schedule was implemented. McIlroy, having already missed the Tournament of Champions in January, is now missing a second such event in the RBC Heritage.

The Tour will not require players to play designated events in 2024, though they will be incentivized to be part of those fields given more FedEx Cup points awarded at those events and the path to getting into the events the following year is fairly narrow (just the top 50 in the FedEx Cup will qualify). Though participating will no longer be mandatory in order to receive PIP funds, one would be playing with fire to not show up.

Coincidentally, during the final episode of the Netflix documentary "Full Swing," it was McIlroy who told a PGA Tour executive that a number of star players were unhappy about the "mandatory" nature of the designated events for 2023. He went on to say that he told these players: If I can show up for the designated events, so can you.

While McIlroy will not be playing at the RBC Heritage, reigning Masters champion Jon Rahm will be in attendance despite a career achievement last week. Though he was exhausted after a taxing week, Rahm said he wanted to show up because he made a commitment.

"It did cross my mind [to withdraw]," he said."It did cross my mind, but I made a commitment earlier in the year, and I want to honor that commitment. I also, talking to [my wife] Kelley, I put myself in the shoes of not only the spectators but the kids as well. If I was one of the kids, I would want to see the recent Masters champion play, good or bad, just want to be there."

McIlroy has been criticized for not taking a similar attitude toward the RBC Heritage. However, given there has been no word from his camp about the reasoning behind the WD, there are hardly enough facts upon which to build such an opinion.

Regardless, missing out on $3 million is a big deal for anyone -- even someone as successful as McIlroy.