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After ‘disagreement’, Rory McIlroy denies breaking up with Tiger Woods

Rory McIlroy recently admitted to a “disagreement” with Tiger Woods, but denied any disagreements with the 15-time major champion.

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Is golf’s top bromance a feud? Well, that seems to depend on your definition to quarrel.

On Thursday evening at Wells Fargo, Rory McIlroy spoke to reporters for the first time since the dispute between him and Tiger Woods became public after the latest PGA Tour dominant match. When asked directly about those reports, McIlroy appeared to admit at least a grain of truth to the suggestion that Woods and McIlroy have been on different pages recently, but denied any suggestion that the disagreements have strained the pair’s relationship.

“I would say, I mean, I think friends can disagree or disagree on things,” McIlroy said. “I think it’s okay. But no, I won’t say—we had a really good talk last Friday for 45 minutes about a lot of different things.”

As for the couple’s “disagreement,” it doesn’t take a Tour PAC member to understand their origins. Woods and McIlroy are two central figures involved in the difficult process of shaping the future of professional golf. Woods, the PGA Tour’s permanent player director, has been one of the key figures in shaping the image of the game that integrates the Saudi PIF model of golf with the PGA Tour’s. Although McIlroy, a former player’s director who once tried to rejoin the board was rejected, he was perhaps the most skilled golfer in the world in matters of Saudi involvement in the game of golf.

If you’ve been paying any attention to golf in the past two years, you know that there are almost as many ideas about the future of the game as there are professional golfers. Disagreement and disagreement on even the smallest details at this stage is one of the few guarantees of the process. But the rift between Woods and McIlroy is remarkable if only because of the important role both players have played in pushing the negotiations to the finish line – to say nothing of the role their friendship has played in furthering the tour’s cause in these tense months.

“No, there’s no difficulty there,” McIlroy said, downplaying the report. “I think we might see the future of golf differently, but I don’t think that should put a strain on relationships or friendships.”

It’s unclear how the two might view the future differently — McIlroy later said in a press release that he and other Tour pros had been briefed on a “150-page” document about the future product — but it shouldn’t be surprising to hear. These are the most pressing topics in the golf world. And especially with the high stress of figures like Woods, his legacy as one of the greatest golfers of all time is tied in little way to his records and credibility on the PGA Tour. Which means that if the Tour model changes significantly, it could affect how Woods’ records are viewed on Tour, and by extension, how Woods is viewed.

Of course, there are business matters related only to the future of the PGA Tour that affect McIlroy and Woods more than most. The two golfers are the faces of TGL, a technology-focused simulation golf league expected to launch in early 2025 in Palm Beach, Fla. McIlroy and Woods are the captains of each team, and their shared investment organization, TMRW Sports, is responsible. to fund most of the league so far.

Soon, however, the two golfers will have a chance to smooth over any bad ends in their relationship next week in Louisville, Ky., where they will compete for the second major of the year at the PGA Championship. Woods hasn’t played in the PGA Championship since 2022 at Southern Hills — and hasn’t finished a PGA weekend since finishing T37 at TPC Harding Park in 2020. Both he and McIlroy last won before hosting the tournament at Valhalla, however, Woods’ in 2000 and McIlroy in 2014.

James Colgan Editor

James Colgan is a news editor and features at GOLF, writing stories for websites and magazines. He manages Hot Mic, the GOLF media stand, and applies his camera knowledge to all product platforms. Before joining GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse University, at which time he was the recipient of a caddy (and atute looper) scholarship on Long Island, where he hails from. He can be reached at

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