After ‘disagreements’, Rory McIlroy denies rift with Tiger Woods

rory mcilroy and tiger woods shake hands at golf tournament

Rory McIlroy recently admitted "disagreements" with Tiger Woods, but he denied a rift with the 15-time major champion.

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Is golf’s most high-profile bromance quarreling? Well, it appears that depends upon your definition of quarreling.

On Thursday evening at the Wells Fargo, Rory McIlroy addressed reporters for the first time since reports swirled of a rift that has formed between him and Tiger Woods in the wake of the latest PGA Tour governance drama. When asked directly about those reports, McIlroy appeared to acknowledge at least a kernel of truth to the suggestion that Woods and McIlroy have been on different pages lately, but denied any suggestion that those disagreements have affected the pair’s relationship.

“I would say, I mean, I think friends can have disagreements or not see eye to eye on things,” McIlroy said. “I think that’s fine. But no, I wouldn’t say — we had a really good talk last Friday for 45 minutes just about a lot of different things.”

As far as the pair’s “disagreements,” it doesn’t take a member of the Tour PAC to understand their origin. Woods and McIlroy are two of the central figures involved in the grueling process to forge professional golf’s future. Woods, a permanent PGA Tour player-director, has been one of the key figures crafting an image of the game that blends the Saudi PIF’s model for golf with the PGA Tour’s. While McIlroy, a former player-director whose recent attempt to re-join the board was rejected, has been perhaps the most vocal professional golfer in the world on matters of Saudi involvement in golf.

If you’ve been paying even a little bit of attention to golf over these last two years, you know there are roughly as many opinions about the future of the sport as there are professional golfers. Dissension and disagreement over even the smallest of details at this stage is one of the few certainties of the process. But dissension and disagreement between Woods and McIlroy is notable if only because of the key role both players hold in pushing talks over the finish line — to say nothing of the role their friendship has played in advancing the Tour’s cause over these tense recent months.

“No, there’s no strain there,” McIlroy said, downplaying the report. “I think we might see the future of golf a little bit differently, but I don’t think that should place any strain on a relationship or on a friendship.”

It’s not clear exactly how the two might view the future differently — McIlroy said later in the presser that he and other Tour pros had been briefed on a “150-page” document on the future product — but it should come as no surprise to hear these are high-stress topics in the golf world. And particularly high stress for figures like Woods, whose playing legacy as one of the greatest golfers ever is tied in no small way to his records and allegiance on the PGA Tour. Which is to say that if the Tour model changes too widely, it could affect the way Woods’ playing records on Tour are viewed, and by extension, how Woods himself is viewed.

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

More immediately, though, the two golfers will have the chance to smooth over any rough edges in their relationship next week in Louisville, Ky., where they’ll compete in the second major of the year at the PGA Championship. Woods has not played in the PGA Championship since 2022 at Southern Hills — and has not finished the weekend at a PGA since a T37 finish at TPC Harding Park in 2020. Both he and McIlroy maintain prior victories at tournament host Valhalla, though, Woods’ in 2000 and McIlroy’s in 2014.

James Colgan Editor

James Colgan is a news and features editor at GOLF, writing stories for the website and magazine. He manages the Hot Mic, GOLF’s media vertical, and utilizes his on-camera experience across the brand’s platforms. Prior to joining GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse University, during which time he was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at

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