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Rory McIlroy: I'd back a World Tour if it was done right and the Premier Golf League wasn't

 

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Rory McIlroy is playing in an all-star trio with Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka at this week's Charles Schwab Challenge.

Rory McIlroy is playing in an all-star trio with Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka at this week's Charles Schwab Challenge.

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Rory McIlroy is playing in an all-star trio with Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka at this week's Charles Schwab Challenge.

World number one Rory McIlroy would back a move to unite golf's two major tours.

Earlier this year, an outside body called the Premier Golf League attempted to overhaul the structure of the sport at the top level. However, their plans involving separating the world's top 48 players into something of a closed shop and, as such, were given short shrift by McIlroy in his typical forthright manner.

Now speaking ahead of this week's return to action at the PGA Tour's Charles Schwab Invitational, McIlroy says he would welcome a move to bring golf under 'fewer umbrellas', even as far as unifying the European Tour and America's PGA Tour, providing it was done under the current regimes rather than as a breakaway.

"I've been calling for it (a World Tour) for a while," he said. "I would like to see that. I think for the health of both tours, a World Tour is something I've always wanted but it had to be done the right way.

"I think the PGL coming in and trying to do it their way wasn't the right thing."

McIlroy says the 'cohesion' shown by the game's leading bodies such as the Tours, the R&A and Augusta National provide a model for how the game can move forward as one, especially with concerns over the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Before the break in play at the end of March, McIlroy was on a run of seven top five finishes in a row.

However, he says he doesn't feel hard-done-by after the lay-off and revealed he got up to speed by playing 'money games' against the likes of Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Shane Lowry near his home in Florida.

"There's no reason why I'm not still (the world's number one golfer)," he said. "It actually gave me an opportunity to work on a few things. My game seems to be there but the first couple of days here will be the real test. I'll learn a lot about myself and my game."

McIlroy tees off in today's first round at 7.06pm, playing in a world's-top-three trio alongside Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka.

World number 49 Graeme McDowell begins his first round at 1.34pm BST, playing alongside Marc Leishman and Patrick Reed.

Belfast Telegraph