As the LIV Golf drama has come to a head over the past few months, Rory McIlroy has been one of the PGA Tour’s most vocal supporters.
As a member of the PGA Tour Players’ Advisory Committee, McIlroy has more of an insider’s perspective than most, and when the PGA Tour announced that Jason Gore would be joining the PGA Tour as vice- Senior Chairman, Player Advisor to the Commissioner, McIlroy was understandably one of the first players to be asked to comment after his 68 second round in the BMW Championship.
“I think Jason is coming back into the fold, especially with everything that’s going on in the golf world right now, I think it’s really – I’m surprised the USGA is letting him go because he’s so good, but it’s a great addition to the Tour,” said McIlroy.
Gore takes on the role of SVP of the PGA Tour after spending the past three years in a similar role at the USGA, where he was General Manager, Player Relations. This position was created following rules controversy and players publicly criticizing USGA championship setups. Gore and his USGA team sought to facilitate better communication between the players and the governing body – a role in which McIlroy said Gore excelled.
“I think how contentious the relationship was between the players and the USGA, so much so that in 2013 there was massive talk of a player boycott at Merion, right. So for that, he did a full 180,” McIlroy said. “It’s probably, I would say, if you ask the players, I’d say it’s probably one of the top two majors now in terms of player treatment and feedback they can give and Jason has been a big part of that. And the team that kind of worked with Jason too.
“But I think having almost a kind of player advocate, someone who knows what it is, has been in your position, and he’s done a great job,” McIlroy continued. “As I said, the relationship between the players and the USGA is so much better than it was.”
Gore spent 20 years as a player on the PGA and Korn Ferry Tours, and his hiring comes at a crucial time in the sport, as the PGA Tour strives to push back the lure of Saudi-backed LIV Golf. saudi. Along with announcing a new schedule with a number of big payouts, the Tour is clearly hoping to do everything possible to keep its current players happy, including using Gore as an enabler.
“I think maybe it’s that missing link where Jason can take ideas from the players and maybe articulate them better to Jay and his management team, the board and everything else,” said McIlroy said of Gore’s worth. “Again, he’s a defender of the players. He wants to do his best to make players as happy as possible, and that’s a nice addition.
According to a PGA Tour press release, Gore’s first task will be “to assist the Tour’s commissioner and senior management in developing long-term, player-focused strategies that align with the unique needs of Tour players.”