Rory McIlroy spoke candidly about recent reports regarding the development of a proposed world golf tour after his third round of the Farmers Insurance Open on Saturday.
"I love the PGA Tour, but (the organizers of the proposed tour) have exploited a couple of holes in the system the way (that) golf at the highest level is nowadays and how it's sort of transitioned from a competition tour to entertainment, right?" McIlroy said, according to Golf Digest's Daniel Rapaport. "It's on TV, it's people coming out to watch. It's definitely a different time than what it was before."
Rumors of a tour that intends to lure the best players in the sport, dubbed the Premier Golf League, were first reported by Golf Channel contributor Geoff Shackelford. Details include an 18-event schedule from January to September, with 48-player fields competing for a lucrative sum of $10 million per week. Tournaments would be played all around the world, with a team championship concluding each season.
"I certainly wouldn't want to lose what's been built in the last 40 or 50 years," the Northern Irishman said, according to Rapaport. "Tournaments like (the Farmers Insurance Open), tournaments like Riviera in a couple weeks' time, everything that we have gotten to know and love over the years.
"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 (the PGA Tour) that can help it grow and move forward and, you know, reward the top players the way they should be, I guess."
This is not the first time the game's elite players have been approached about the concept of a new tour.
"Those guys have been talking to a few of us for six years. They approached me at the end of 2014," McIlroy added.
Tiger Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, confirmed the rumors of the proposed tour to Shackelford.
"It seems to resurface at different times," Steinberg said. "It's obviously resurfacing right now. We'll see if they take it to the next level."
Steps to taking the Premier Golf League to the next level are reportedly underway, according to Evin Priest of the Australian Associated Press.
Representatives from the proposed world tour have apparently approached organizers of the Australian Open, South Africa's Alfred Dunhill Championship, the Dubai Desert Classic, and the Singapore Open as potential stops on the Premier Golf League's schedule.
In addition to McIlroy, Phil Mickelson was also asked about his thoughts on the prospect of the proposed tour.
"I'm curious, but I don't know enough to talk about it," Mickelson said after missing the cut at Torrey Pines on Friday, according to Rapaport. "I'm listening to it. I think it's intriguing, but I just don't know enough about it to comment publicly. I hope to learn more."
The PGA Tour and European Tour refrained from commenting on the proposed tour.
"I think they've been trying to move forward for eight years, but I wouldn't comment on the business of the PGA Tour, or certainly one that is not real," European Tour CEO Keith Pelley said, according to Priest.
However, a spokesperson from the Premier Golf League told Shackelford: "It is our intention to work with, rather than challenge, existing tours for the betterment of golf as a sport, pastime, and media property."