As a member of the PGA Tour’s Player Advisory Committee, McIlroy has more of an insider’s perspective than most, and when the PGA Tour announced that Jason Gore would be joining the PGA Tour as Senior Vice President, Player Advisor to the Commissioner, McIlroy was naturally one of the first players to be asked for comment after his second-round 68 at the BMW Championship.
“I think Jason coming back into the fold, especially with everything that’s happening in the world of golf right now, I think it’s a really — I’m surprised the USGA let him go because he is so good, but it’s a great addition to the Tour,” McIlroy said.
Gore is assuming the role of SVP at the PGA Tour after spending the last three years in a similar role at the USGA, where he was Managing Director, Player Relations. That position was created in the wake of rules controversies and players publicly criticizing USGA championship setups. Gore and his USGA team sought to facilitate greater communication between players and the governing body — a role in which McIlroy said Gore excelled.
“I think about how contentious the relationship was between the players and the USGA, so much so that in 2013 there was massive talk of a player boycott at Merion, right. So for it to — it’s done a complete 180,” McIlroy said. “It’s probably, I would say, if you polled players, I would say it’s probably one of the top two majors now in terms of how the players are treated and the feedback that they can give and Jason has been a massive part to do with that. And the team that sort of worked with Jason, too.
“But I think having a sort of player advocate nearly, someone that knows what it’s like, has been in your position, and he did a great job,” McIlroy continued. “As I said, the relationship between the players and the USGA is so much better than it used to be.”
Gore spent 20 years as a player on the PGA and Korn Ferry Tours, and his hiring comes at a crucial moment in the sport, as the PGA Tour endeavors to fend off the draw of Saudi-backed LIV Golf. In addition to announcing a new schedule with a number of big-money payouts, the Tour is clearly hoping to do everything possible to keep its current players happy, including using Gore as a facilitator.
“I think just maybe that missing link where Jason can take ideas from players and maybe articulate them better to Jay and his executive team and the board and everything else,” McIlroy said of Gore’s value. “Again, he’s a player advocate. He wants to do everything as well as possible to make the players as happy as possible, and it’s a good addition.”
According to a press release from the PGA Tour, Gore’s first order of business will be “assisting the Commissioner and the Tour’s senior leadership in developing long-range, player-focused strategies that align with the unique needs of the Tour’s players.”