Gosh, we’ve missed you. What’s it been, two days? Amazing. Anyway, hope you’re ready to talk about everyone’s favorite Northern Irishman. No, not you, Eamon.

In today’s newsletter…

  • Regarding the Premier Golf League, Rory McIlroy says, “I’m out.” (Unless, you know, he’s in.)
  • McIlroy sits two shots clear of an eclectic group of chasers after the first round of the WGC-Mexico Championship.

The Storylines

Decline with no regrets

The prospect of the Premier Golf League hit a Rory McIlroy-sized speed bump on Wednesday. McIlroy’s full comments can be found HERE, but this is the core of what he said about the proposed tour:

I read a thing the other day where it said if you take the money they can tell you what to do… I like to have that autonomy and freedom over my career, and I feel like I would give that up by going to play this other league… For me, I’m out. My position is I’m against it until there may come a day that I can’t be against it. If everyone else goes, I might not have a choice, but at this point, I don’t like what they’re proposing.

Rory’s stance is obviously great for the PGA Tour. It means the reigning Players champion and Player of the Year isn’t planning to take the dirty money and run… for now.

Contrary to what many media outlets have concluded, Rory’s quote doesn’t completely shut the door on the PGL. “If everyone else goes,” he said, “I might not have a choice.” And by “everyone else,” he means Tiger Woods.

Yes, Rory McIlroy is a powerhouse in the game and is currently No. 1 in the world, but only one player has the power to turn the PGL into a major threat to the PGA Tour. If Tiger were to jump ship, all the money and attention would follow him, and so would McIlroy. It’s great that Rory speaks his mind, and we find many of his points valid, but “I’m out” doesn’t mean “I’m out” unless Big Cat says it, too.

The Roundup

WGC-Mexico Championship

  • Leaderboard
  • Another thing about Rory McIlroy is that he’s amazing at golf. The OWGR No. 1 shot a first-round 65 to take the lead at the WGC-Mexico Championship. In his past eight events, he has had two wins and five other top-six finishes.
  • Justin Thomas and Bubba Watson are two back of McIlroy. It’s no surprise to see JT buck his head; he has finished inside the top 10 in all three of his trips to Mexico City.
  • An eclectic group—including Lee Westwood, Louis Oosthuizen, Bryson DeChambeau, Tyrrell Hatton, Hideki Matsuyama, and Patrick Reed—rounds out the top 10.
  • Defending champion Dustin Johnson surprised everyone by opening with a 76 at Club de Golf Chapultepec.

Puerto Rico Open

  • Leaderboard
  • Fresh off seven missed cuts in his past 11 events, Kyle Stanley fired an opening round of 64 in Puerto Rico. Stanley had only one top 10 in 2019.
  • Peter Uihlein is in the group two shots behind Stanley. Last week, Uihlein held the 54-hole lead on the Korn Ferry Tour but fell to T-20.

In college golf, Georgia Tech won the Puerto Rico Classic by two shots over Oklahoma this week, while Texas held on to win The Prestige by six shots over Pepperdine.

In the least surprising statement of the week, Acushnet CEO David Maher disagreed with the USGA and R&A’s Distance Insights Report. He thinks the current restrictions are just fine, thankyouverymuch.

The Latest from The Fried Egg

The Shotgun Start: The Mexico-to-Muscat gang, remembering Ryo-mania, and Rory vs. PGL

A loopy Friday episode begins with a celebration of democracy and the voting process that will put Lee Westwood on the PGA Tour Live feed all day Friday in Mexico. This is interrupted by a rant on every day now having a theme, strategies for handling overenthusiastic co-workers, and a plea to keep track of the times UPS is quickly cropped out of the Westwood feed. On actual golf, we discuss the beauty of Rory’s round and his chase for every golf “slam” known to man, as well as a conspiracy theory about his hat as to why he didn’t play the Olympics. In Puerto Rico, we touch on the Jay McLuen problem and the PR Open Curse that strikes each winner before jumping into a flashback Friday on one of the players down there this week, Ryo Ishikawa. The trip down memory lane focuses on the comparisons to Rory early in last decade and the mania that followed Ryo in his nascent days on Tour. In news, we discuss Peter Kostis lighting the world on fire and Rory coming out against the PGL and the odd rush to pronounce his albeit admirable stance as the death of the concept. A completely rambling final segment then also hits Acushnet’s statement on the distance report, rampant corruption and conflicts in golf media, Scottie Scheffler, and bald Casey Urlacher’s illegal gambling ring with his friends “Sweaters” and “Uncle Mick.” Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Pro Shop

Jordan Spieth continued to hit the ball all over the map on Thursday. Totally unrelated: a good way to cure the driver yips is by switching up the headcover. Grab your Fried Egg cover today!