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Rory McIlroy: Golf must work closer together after coronavirus pandemic | Golf News

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Last Updated: 10/06/20 9:19pm

Rory McIlroy returns to action at the Charles Schwab Challenge this week

Rory McIlroy returns to action at the Charles Schwab Challenge this week

Rory McIlroy has called on golf’s governing bodies to work more closely together as he responded to concerns about the impact the coronavirus has had on the European Tour.

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Golf’s global calendar has been decimated in recent months due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the Charles Schwab Challenge, live on Sky Sports, marking the first PGA Tour event since mid-March and the European Tour not set to return until July 22.

The European Tour has released the initial part of their revised schedule for the remainder of 2020, including a “UK Swing” with significantly reduced prize funds, while McIlroy believes the global crisis shows more cohesion is needed between the sports’ main organisations.

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TV times for the Charles Schwab Challenge, live on Sky Sports.

“It’s not great when they [the European Tour] are having to do things and they’re taking such a financial hit because of the coronavirus and this pandemic,” McIlroy said. “So am I concerned? Yes, but I don’t know what else I can do.

“I don’t feel like I’m responsible for the health of the Tour. I’m a player; I play on the Tour and I’m very grateful for the opportunity that they’ve provided me over the years. But if anything, I think this pandemic has highlighted the fact that the game of golf at the highest level needs to be simplified.

McIlroy told reporters that he is in regular communication with European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley

McIlroy told reporters that he is in regular communication with European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley

“I think there’s too many funnels, there’s too many channels. I don’t know if everything being under one umbrella is the solution, but definitely fewer umbrellas I think is a way forward.

“I think the major championship organisations and the bigger governing bodies in the game of golf have realised that there’s so many moving parts and I think more cohesion in the game is better.

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“I’m not saying that it [golf’s stoppage] has been a good thing, but at the same time, I think it’s opened some people’s eyes up to the fact that we can all sort of work a little bit better together in this world.”

Three of the four majors had to rearranged due to the outbreak, while The Open was cancelled for the first time since World War II and a host of events on both Tours were unable to take place.

McIlroy has top-five finishes in his last seven worldwide starts

McIlroy has top-five finishes in his last seven worldwide starts

The proposed Premier Golf League, an elite world golf tour, was rejected by McIlroy and a number of other players earlier this year, although the world No 1 would like to see a stronger connection between the PGA Tour and European Tour.

“I think for the health of both Tours, a world tour is something I’ve always wanted, but it had to be done the right way,” McIlroy added. “I think the PGL coming in and trying to do it their way wasn’t the right thing.

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“Trying to make change from within the game already and not letting an outsider come in is the right way to do it, so I’d be supportive of that for sure.

“Tours consolidating, whether it’s some European Tour events offering FedExCup points and some PGA Tour events offering Race to Dubai points, I don’t know, but just a little bit more cohesion.

McIlroy will play alongside Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm for the first two rounds at Colonial Country Club

McIlroy will play alongside Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm for the first two rounds at Colonial Country Club

“Having everyone together and trying to figure this out has definitely opened some people’s eyes to what actually goes on and how many moving parts there is. I think the more that all these bodies can sort of work together for the greater good of game can only be a good thing.”

Watch the Charles Schwab Challenge throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins with Featured Groups on Thursday from 12.45pm on Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event.

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June 11, 2020, 9:00pm

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