Rory McIlroy Believes PGA Tour Should Use The NBA Model, Build Around Its Biggest Stars

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With LIV Golf scheduling more tournaments, striking a television deal, and continuing to evolve, the PGA Tour can not stay stagnant. Rory McIlroy, who has been the Tour’s unofficial spokesperson for the last year-plus, thinks the Tour should take a page out of the NBA’s playbook.

In a direct response to LIV’s ginormous purses, the PGA Tour added nine new designated events to its schedule in which the top players on Tour compete for increased purses. This week’s Genesis Invitational is a designated event, for example, and carries a $20 million purse this year compared to $12 million a year ago.


McIlroy is in favor of the designated events but believes the Tour could follow in the footsteps of the NBA and build itself around its stars. Not only would that benefit the Tour’s biggest names, but the lesser-known players on Tour as well.

“If you have a product that this year is forecasted to do $2 billion in gross revenue, you’re trying to grow that product as much as possible,” McIlroy explained.

“If you look at the NBA’s trajectory over the last 20 years, they’ve built that league around their best players and their stars, not around the 12th guy on the team. But because they’ve built that league up around the stars, the 12th guy on the team does way better than he used to. So that’s sort of the way I’ve been trying to tell it.”

Rory McIlroy wouldn’t mind seeing the PGA Tour take a page out of the NBA’s playbook. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

What McIlroy is essentially saying is that if you look at that $2 billion revenue figure he floated, increasing that number, whether it be by a million or $500 million per year means a larger pot that theoretically every player will have an opportunity to get their hands on.

The NBA comparison makes sense in that regard seeing as how the likes of LeBron James, Steph Curry, Luka Doncic and other superstars growing the league has resulted in the pockets of the 12th man on the roster growing much deeper.

While that all sounds great, the rumor of the PGA Tour making some of these designated events limited-field, no-cut tournaments wouldn’t benefit any of those middle-of-the-pack players.

The limited-field, no-cut model is the carbon copy of LIV Golf’s as well, which doesn’t seem like a viable plan to grow the Tour or make the product as a whole better. Then again, you have to keep the top players on Tour as happy as possible.

It’s a balancing act, in that regard, and will be fascinating to watch over the coming months.

Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris

Written by Mark Harris


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  1. As someone who has seen all of Tiger Woods’ career, both as an amateur and a pro, THE PGA ALREADY BUILDS AROUND THEIR BIGGEST STARS. I would assume they did the same with Jack and Arnie before my time.

    But again, Rory is out there promoting things he said “were killing golf in the LIV.” McIlroy has become one of the most self-righteous, insufferable whiners in golf. To the point that I can’t remember why I used to like him

  2. The NBA has actually been on the decline. We all love our stars in golf, they already pair the big stars together, but anytime there is a journeyman/rookie/hard luck long time player in the mix on Sunday, it does zero damage.

    Rory continues to channel his inner LeBron and keeps saying the dumbest things ever. Hopefully he never wins again. He’s become quite annoying.

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