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After ‘very messy’ conversations, Rory McIlroy moving on from policy board return

It doesn’t appear as if Rory McIlroy is re-joining the PGA Tour’s policy board after all.

McIlroy told reporters Wednesday at Quail Hollow, site of this week’s Wells Fargo Championship, that some board members were “maybe uncomfortable” with McIlroy coming back on board, and that after some “pretty messy” conversations he was moving on.

“There’s been a lot of conversations,” McIlroy said. “Sort of reminded me partly why I [left the board in the first place]. So yeah, I think it just got pretty complicated and pretty messy, and I think with the way it happened, I think it opened up some old wounds and scar tissue from things that have happened before. I think there was a subset of people on the board that were maybe uncomfortable with me coming back on for some reason. Yeah, I think that the best course of action is if, you know, there’s some people on there that aren’t comfortable with me coming back on, then I think Webb [Simpson] just stays on and sees out his term, and I think he’s gotten to a place where he’s comfortable with doing that and I just sort of keep doing what I’m doing.

“So yeah, I put my hand up to help and I wouldn’t say it was rejected, it was a complicated process to get through to put me back on there. So that’s all fine, no hard feelings and we’ll all move on.”

McIlroy abruptly stepped down as a player director last November, telling reporters, “I’ve got a lot going on in my life.” Jordan Spieth was appointed to serve out the remainder of McIlroy’s term, which expires at the end of this year.

But last month it was reported by The Guardian that McIlroy was contemplating a return to the board. Prior to the Zurich Classic, McIlroy explained that he had discussed with Webb Simpson about taking Simpson’s spot, though such transfer would have to be approved by the other board members.

“I think I can be helpful,” McIlroy said in New Orleans. “I don’t think there’s been much progress made in the last eight months, and I was hopeful that there would be. I think I could be helpful to the process ... but only if people want me involved, I guess. When Webb and I talked, and he talked about potentially coming off the board, I said, ‘Look, if it was something that other people wanted, I would gladly take that seat.’”

Though that’s now not likely to happen, McIlroy says he remains optimistic with Simpson and his “balanced voice” still at the table.

“My fear was if Webb stepped off and it wasn’t me that was going in his place, what could potentially happen,” McIlroy added.

McIlroy has been a proponent of a deal getting done between the PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed LIV Golf. He reiterated his opinion on Tuesday, saying that it makes sense for both sides to come to an agreement, even if it means both sides are “probably not going to feel great.” As examples, McIlroy pointed to a potential shift to a more global competition schedule and how some players comfortable with playing only in the U.S. might not want to travel, or how some Tour members would feel if LIV players still with status are welcomed back to the Tour after collections, in some cases, hundreds of millions of dollars.

“But if it’s a place where the game of golf starts to thrive again and we can all get back together,” McIlroy added, “then I think that’s ultimately a really good thing.”

Meanwhile, McIlroy will just keep doing what he’s doing.

Editor’s note: Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis reported Wednesday evening, this statement from PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan: