The days following Rory McIlroy’s mysterious resignation from the PGA Tour policy board have not yielded many answers, but they have at least given us a replacement.
His name? Jordan Spieth.
On Monday morning, the PGA Tour announced that Spieth would fill the spot vacated on the Tour’s policy board last Tuesday by McIlroy. Spieth, per the Tour’s announcement, will fill the remainder of McIlroy’s term on the board, which means he will remain in the position through at least the end of 2024.
Spieth is a natural successor to McIlroy on the board, filling the star void left by McIlroy. Spieth’s role will see him take on a considerable role at a pivotal moment for the tour — most notably overseeing the late stages of the Tour’s push for a “definitive agreement” with the Saudi Public Investment Fund and its negotiations with more than a dozen institutional investors who have submitted equity proposals to the Tour.
Patrick Cantlay, Charley Hoffman, Peter Malnati, Webb Simpson and Tiger Woods are the remaining five PAC player-directors. Spieth will join the board alongside six longtime Tour executives, including Ed Herlihy and Jimmy Dunne — two key figures in the PIF negotiations — to form a twelve-person voting bloc. Woods, the sixth player-member, was added just months ago after a player movement led by Woods sought to retake control of the Tour from its executive leadership.
The job of the Tour’s policy board is varied, but right now the work at the center of the golf world’s interest (and Woods’ list of demands) is the ongoing negotiation for equity stake. The group will eventually be responsible for voting to ratify or strike down any proposed agreement with the PIF or another equity partner, a decision that could have far-reaching consequences for the future of professional golf as we know it.
McIlroy’s decision to leave the board in the midst of these talks — and despite his own role as perhaps the most vocal member of the Tour’s playing class — came as a shock to many members of the golf world. McIlroy, many people figured, would see his role on the policy board through to the end of his term, a time frame that will likely overlap with a final decision on an agreement with the PIF or another equity partner.
After a bruising few years in the public eye, McIlroy evidently felt different about it, particularly after the Tour’s agreement with the PIF left him feeling like a “sacrificial lamb.”
“Something had to give,” McIlroy told reporters last week in Dubai about the decision. “There are only so many hours in a day and only so many days in a week. I’ve got a lot going on in my life right now between trying to be a world-class golfer and trying to be a good husband and a good father. I’ve got a growing investment portfolio that is taking up more of my time. I’m involved with TGL and sort of in the weeds with that. On top of all that, the Policy Board stuff was taking more of my time than ever this year.”
Spieth’s work for the policy board will commence immediately, the Tour said. Considering the stakes, let’s hope he’s had some time to study.