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This hasn’t been a stellar week for Mr. Rory McIlroy.

In his ninth attempt to complete the career grand slam at the Masters, McIlroy shot 72-77 (+5) to miss the cut for the second time in his last three trips to Augusta National Golf Club. The Northern Irishman finished the tournament in a tie with Bernard Langer, who turns 66 in August.

But a few days later, McIlroy embarrassed himself even more by withdrawing from the RBC Heritage before showing up at Hilton Head. Normally, that wouldn’t be a big deal for a player coming off six starts in the last nine weeks, but this isn’t a normal event. And McIlroy is far from a normal player.

By skipping the RBC Heritage — an elevated event on the schedule — McIlroy is starting to reek of hypocrisy as the self-appointed poster child of the PGA Tour.

Rory McIlroy failed to complete the career grand slam at the Masters once again

It’s the same old story every time Rory McIlroy shows up to Augusta National Golf Club.

“Will this be the year he finally gets over the hump and completes the career grand slam?” For the last eight years, that answer has been no, and nothing changed in Year 9.

This past weekend, in McIlroy’s ninth trip to the Masters since completing the first three legs of the grand slam in 2014, he shot 5 over par over the first two rounds to miss the cut by two strokes. Rory needed just a 3-over 75 in the second round to crack the weekend, but he made seven bogeys to only two birdies to finish with a disappointing 77.

McIlroy clearly puts too much pressure on himself every time he tees it up at the Masters, and that pressure only grows with each winless year that passes him by. But missing the cut for the second time in three years isn’t even the most embarrassing thing the World No. 3 has done in the last five days.

Rory McIlroy’s RBC Heritage WD reeks of hypocrisy

Rory McIlroy looks frustrated during the second round of the Masters.
Rory McIlroy reacts to his fourth shot on the second hole during the second round of the 2023 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club | Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

On Monday, McIlroy withdrew from the RBC Heritage without giving an explanation as to why. If he suffered an injury at Augusta or is dealing with a personal issue away from the golf course, there’s no story here. Until that information is divulged, though, this is a bigger deal than you might think.

You see, the RBC Heritage is one of 13 elevated events (17 including major championships) on the PGA Tour schedule this season. The top 20 golfers in the PGA Tour’s 2022 Player Impact Program are required to compete in 12 of the 13 designated tournaments. They are allowed to skip one event for “personal or professional reasons” and still collect PIP bonuses at the end of the year.

And who spearheaded this effort to reward popular golfers with more money and ensure fans get to watch the most talented players more often? That’s right — Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy, along with Tiger Woods, set up multiple meetings with PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan and other players last year with the goal of changing the Tour for the better. The addition of elevated events to the schedule was his own brainchild, and the Tour’s de facto spokesperson has been leading the charge for the world’s best players to show up at these tournaments.

“The best players should be playing in [the elevated events] because ultimately the PGA Tour needs to be built around the best players,” McIlroy said in February ahead of the Genesis Invitational. “That’s what will maximize the value of the product.”

But McIlroy himself isn’t holding up his end of the bargain.

The outspoken leader of the PGA Tour, who finished second in the PIP last year to cash in on a $12 million bonus, already skipped the first elevated event this season at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. His WD at the RBC Heritage will mark his second missed elevated event of the season, and we’re not even halfway through the schedule. McIlroy is the only player in the top 20 of last year’s PIP who’s decided to skip two elevated events already without an injury excuse.

Not only does this hypocritical decision put McIlroy’s 2023 PIP bonus at risk, but it’s also a terrible look for the man who brought the elevated events to life in the first place. If the creator of the new schedule doesn’t follow his own rules, why should everyone else?


What Are the New Elevated Events on the PGA Tour, and How Large Will the Purses Be?