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Premier Golf League proposals could help elevate sport to the next level, says Rory McIlroy


In swing: Rory McIlroy at Torrey Pines last night

In swing: Rory McIlroy at Torrey Pines last night

In swing: Rory McIlroy at Torrey Pines last night

Rory McIlroy believes the proposed new global golf circuit could be a catalyst for change for the world's major tours.

The Holywood star does not want to upset the status quo, but he reckons a proposal to form a "Premier Golf League" could help the game move forward.

"Those guys have been talking to a few of us for six years," McIlroy said at Torrey Pines, where he finished tied third behind Marc Leishman and Jon Rahm. "They approached me at the end of 2014."

The new circuit, which is backed by merchant bank the Raine Group, hopes to persuade megastars such as McIlroy and Tiger Woods to sign up for a new series of innovative, super-rich events.

Several top players and agents have been approached and "The League" insisted on Friday that it wants "to work with, rather than challenge, existing tours for the betterment of golf as a sport, pastime and media property".

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has warned players of the potential pitfalls of the rival league and appears to have McIlroy's backing.

"I love the way golf is set up right now, so it might be the catalyst for something a little bit different out here as well, who knows," McIlroy said.

He added: "I'm still quite a traditionalist, so to have that much of an upheaval in the game I don't think is the right step forward.

"But I think, as I said, it might be a catalyst for some changes on this tour that can help it grow and move forward and reward the top players the way they should be, I guess."

Meanwhile, Australia's Lucas Herbert (24) won the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, his maiden European Tour title and €490,323 when he beat South Africa's Christiaan Bezuidenhout with a birdie at the second extra hole.

Just four players broke 70 as swirling winds and occasional showers made for treacherous final round conditions at Emirates Golf Club.

Belfast Telegraph