Rory McIlroy: If players ‘care’ about careers, they should be in U.S.

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, fully confident about the coronavirus protocols the PGA Tour has in place, is taking a firm stance against complaints from European players who believe they are at a disadvantage if they aren’t yet comfortable traveling internationally.

The Official World Golf Rankings system resumed with last week’s Charles Schwab Challenge, although several prominent European and other international players have declined to travel to the United States.

“Look, personally, if I were in their shoes and I was asked to come over to the States and shelter in place or quarantine for two weeks before these tournaments, I would have done that,” McIlroy said Wednesday ahead of the RBC Heritage. “If you really care about your career and care about moving forward, you should be here, I think. Last week was 70 World Ranking points for the winner, this week 74.”

Rory McIlroy
Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

England’s Tommy Fleetwood, Italy’s Francesco Molinari and Australia’s Adam Scott are among the marquee players who have remained home despite the Tour’s resumption. England’s Lee Westwood has previously said it’s “just not worth it” to quarantine for two weeks when arriving in the United States, and tweeted “Time to rename it?” when the European Tour announced June 3 that the OWGR would resume along with the PGA Tour.

Fleetwood, who dropped a spot to No. 11 last week, recently said that traveling to the United States and being away from his family for up to four months “is simply not a consideration.”

McIlroy acknowledged that there are different variables for each player to consider, but he doesn’t buy into the notion held by Fleetwood and others that world rankings points should not be on the line in these first events back.

“I honestly don’t understand the guys complaining because there is a solution to it,” McIlroy said. “You can come over here and do what needs to be done.

“We all have the means to rent a very nice house in a gated community in Florida and, you know, it’s not a hardship for two weeks to come over and quarantine. My caddie Harry (Diamond) came over and did it. He stayed in our guest house. The two weeks flew by.”

A few of McIlroy’s other Ryder Cup teammates have pointed to the quarantine requirements on both sides of travel along with the time commitment in playing events as reasons to remain home. He again pointed to the means elite professional golfers have as well as the approaching end of school years for children.

“It might seem a little harsh, but I don’t get that mindset,” he said, “especially if you care about your career and you want to advance.”

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)