LOS ANGELES — Rory McIlroy was on a shuttle ride back to the Liberty National clubhouse in August 2019 when he was surprised to hear during a chat about PGA Tour policies that no foreign-born player ever has served on the tour’s policy board.
“That’s going to change,” McIlroy said with a smile.
The change arrived Tuesday when McIlroy, from Northern Ireland, won a player election as chairman of the Player Advisory Council, the 16-man committee that provides input to the four players who serve on the board.
As chairman, McIlroy will move up to the board next year and begin a three-year term, replacing Jordan Spieth. McIlroy won the election over American Kevin Streelman and Russell Knox of Scotland.
The policy board dates to 1969, the first year the PGA Tour broke away from the PGA of America. Why it took so long for a foreign-born player to be elected to the board is a mystery, especially since international players have been a prominent part of the PGA Tour for close to 40 years. Last year, nine of the top 20 players from the final FedEx Cup standings were from outside the United States.
It starts with players agreeing to be on the ballot as PAC chairman. Among those who have run in recent times are Paul Casey and Geoff Ogilvy.
The entire membership votes, and there was a feeling that a majority of the players wanted to make sure the board was not filled with top players who might not relate to the rank and file.
McIlroy is popular with his peers and outspoken on issues that matter to him, such as his strong opposition to the proposed Premier Golf League last year. He will be on the board next year with James Hahn, Charley Hoffman and Kevin Kisner.