PGA Tour pros hit out at 'irony' of Rory McIlroy skipping RBC Heritage

‘Rules are the rules’: PGA Tour pros Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas and Joel Dahmen appear to hit out at the ‘irony’ of Rory McIlroy skipping the RBC Heritage after he ‘lead the charge on the changes’

  • McIlroy decided to skip the RBC Heritage this week after missing the Masters cut
  • The Northern Irishman will reportedly lose $3m of his $12m PIP earnings as a fine
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Rory McIlroy’s fellow PGA Tour stars appear to have little sympathy for the Northern Irishman after he pulled out of the RBC Heritage this week, reportedly costing him $3 million. 

This week’s $20m tournament is one of the PGA Tour’s new, shiny designated events – that McIlroy has helped spearhead and has publicly backed – with professionals obligated to play in all but one of the events.

The four-time major winner had already skipped out on the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this year, meaning his absence at Harbour Town should come at a cost. 

McIlroy is expected to lose $3m of the $12m he earned last year from his second-place finish in the Player Impact Program, according to Sports Illustrated. 

But his fine drew little sympathy from his fellow professionals as they insisted the Ulsterman ‘knew what was coming.’

Rory McIlroy’s decision to skip out on the RBC Heritage could reportedly cost him $3million 

‘I feel like Rory was leading the charge on the changes that have been made and he helped make the rules,’ Netflix’s Full Swing star Joel Dahmen said, via Sports Illustrated. 

‘He knew what the rules were. So, he knew what was coming. He also has so much money, he doesn’t care about $3 million.’ 

World No. 6 Xander Schauffele echoed Dahmen’s comments, highlighting that the majority of the changes were what McIlroy wanted. 

‘Rules are the rules,’ Schauffele said after his round on Thursday at the RBC Heritage. ‘So, I mean, for the most part, a lot of what he wanted is what’s happening. And the irony is that he’s not here.’ 

McIlroy’s friend Justin Thomas was slightly less harsh on the decision but did admit that it shouldn’t come as a surprise to the World No. 3. 

‘It doesn’t matter who you are, that’s a ton of money,’ Thomas said of the $3 million. ‘All of us knew going into the year what the situation was and what we had to do to get extra X or Y and for him Y is a lot in this situation, finishing second (In the PIP rankings). 

‘So, it wasn’t a surprise to him or any of us it just was kind of where he ended up in the rankings and not playing this week is I guess a consequence.’ 

In the McIlroy-focused episode of Netflix’s docuseries, Full swing, released in February, the 33-year-old admitted that some players had been blindsided by the ‘mandatory’ elevated events from the commissioner but he went on to to defend to move.

Fellow pros Joel Dahmen (left) and Xander Schauffele (right) had little sympathy for McIlroy

‘They were sort of blindsided by it,’ McIlroy said. ‘That’s sort of the feeling. Like, we knew there were going to be four elevated events, but we didn’t know anything about them being mandatory.’

Ironically,  the incentive to play all but one of the designated events will be amended next year with financial setback not a consequence of missing more than one of the events.

While the $3 million fine has been widely reported and other players have not held back on speaking about it, the PGA Tour itself has yet to issue a public comment on the matter. 

Commissioner Jay Monahan has total discretion to fine or penalize a player under the PGA Tour rules and could, if he chose to, grant extenuating circumstances for McIlroy this week. But the Tour’s policy is not to disclose fines or penalties. 

Justin Thomas admitted that the fine shouldn’t come as a surprise to the World No. 3

Commissioner Jay Monahan has total discretion to fine or penalize a player under Tour rules

However, McIlroy’s peers believe Monahan has a duty to the rest of the Tour’s membership to be transparent and communicate what exactly is happening sooner rather than later. 

‘I imagined he’d communicate to the membership,’ Schauffele said ‘It’s a lot of money. It’s a big deal. A lot of people want to know what’s going on.’

Rickie Fowler agreed that whatever decision Monahan makes needs to be disclosed, saying: ‘I think that’s a big thing that’s been talked about for the last year, is having more transparency and just good communication between players the tour. 

‘I think that includes you (the media) as well. And ultimately, the more transparency and the more everyone’s on the same page, the better.’

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