Rory McIlroy may have cost himself $3 million by skipping the RBC Heritage — one of the PGA Tour‘s “elevated” events — which began today at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, South Carolina, per Golf Channel and SI.
The world’s No. 3 ranked golfer announced on Tuesday that he would miss this week’s event. No reason was given.
McIlroy is coming off a disappointing missed cut at The Masters (and The Players). He was among numerous golfers to signal post-Augusta National fatigue — a result of the PGA Tour’s dense 2023 schedule.
The Tour has made an increased effort to maximize stakes, bolster its schedule, and incentivize top players to play as often as possible. One of these measures is the Player Impact Program (PIP), a year-long bonus pool based on a combination of on-course performance and off-course popularity. Another is the designation of certain tournaments as “elevated” events, which feature $20 million purses. Top 20 finishers in PIP in 2022 are allowed to opt out of only one elevated event. McIlroy, who earned $12 million by finishing second to Tiger Woods ($15 million) in PIP, skipped the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January.
The Tour had made it known that the penalty of missing a second elevated event would be forfeiting one-quarter of PIP earnings, but many assumed commissioner Jay Monahan would use his self-declared discretion with McIlroy. After all, McIlroy has taken on a behind-the-scenes leadership role on tour and helped spearhead the ongoing changes, including the elevated events.
PIP will not be connected to what will be re-labeled “designated” events in 2024. The Tour will reduce the number of designated events and adjust the cadence of its calendar.
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