World No. 1 Rory McIlroy came out against the proposed Premier Golf League on Wednesday, saying he values scheduling flexibility over promises of big prize money.
The proposed league would feature 12 four-man teams that would be required to appear in 18 events, including 10 in the United States, during the PGA Tour season. Organizers say each event would have a $10 million purse, with the final event worth $40 million.
"The more I've thought about it, the more I don't like it," McIlroy said at a press conference in advance of this week's WGC-Mexico Championship in Mexico City. "The one thing as a professional golfer in my position that I value is the fact that I have autonomy and freedom over everything that I do. ...
"If you go and play in this other golf league you're not going to have that choice. I read a thing the other day that said if you take the money, they can tell you what to do, so if you don't take the money they can't tell you what to do.
"And I think that's my thing -- I've never been one for being told what to do, and I like to have that autonomy and freedom over my career, and I feel I would give that up by going to play this other league. For me, I'm out."'
Other top players, including Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, have taken a public wait-and-see approach in their comments about the Premier Golf League, which has also proposed a team ownership structure for the leading golfers. Playing in the 18 events, plus the four majors -- which would not conflict on the schedule with the proposed new league -- is already more than Woods has stated he would like to play in a season.
McIlroy is the first to reject the idea -- for now.
"My position is I'm against it until there may come a day that I can't be against it," he said. "If everyone else goes, I might not have a choice, but at this point, I don't like what they're proposing."
--Field Level Media