Welcome to The Break, my recap and reaction feature available several times per week. Catch up on everything happening in the golf world in an easy-to-consume format to get your day started.
Before we get started, I'd appreciate it if you give me a follow on your social platform of choice:
In today's edition:
- Rory McIlroy is moving to London
- LIV Golf's free agency period starts
- Deal of the Day
- Shout Outs
The Break is also available as a twice-weekly newsletter (Monday and Thursday), so sign up for The Break today and get a chance to win a dozen Titleist Pro V1 golf balls in our monthly giveaway.
Rory McIlroy is moving to London
We have a better idea of some of the motivation behind Rory McIlroy resigning from the PGA Tour Policy Board on Tuesday. McIlroy said in Dubai on Thursday that "something had to give" among all the things he is doing in his personal and professional life. Between playing pro golf, owning a chunk of TGL, his other investments and being a human being, there's a lot going on at the moment. Also, McIlroy said the Policy Board team is working hard on things, and he thinks things are in a pretty good place there. All well and good.
Happening parallel to that Policy Board resignation is a potential transatlantic move. James Corrigan of the Telegraph reports McIlroy and his family are planning a permanent move to London from South Florida, where McIlroy has lived for five years. That move won't happen, according to Corrigan, until the McIlroys' daughter is of school age. McIlroy joined Queenwood club in England in 2019, so that would suggest a potentially jumping-in point for a move.
Reportedly, the McIlroys will still have a home base in Florida. And McIlroy will still have a home in Holywood, Northern Ireland. (And probably some other places if he wants. It's not like he doesn't have the cash.)
Rory has a private jet at his disposal, so where he considers his home base -- particularly for tax purposes -- isn't all that important. However, the move does suggest McIlroy wants to get away from something or some things about South Florida.
LIV Golf's free agency period starts
The third season of LIV Golf will start in 2024, but before that gets going, the league has to form its 12 teams.
The off-season process started with players who finished in the top 24 of LIV Golf's 2023 points list. Those players in the top 24 that had an expiring contract with their team were required to get a new contract offer from their existing team, which they could accept or decline. If a player declined, they were in the pool for the second stage, which is free agency.
In the free agency stage, players who finished 25th through 44th in LIV Golf points, as well as the top 24 that declined an extension, can negotiate contracts with new teams. For example, Carlos Ortiz of the Fireballs finished in the top 24, was offered a new contract by his team and declined. So he's in the free agency pool. Teams can also sign non-LIV Golf players to their team at this time.
There are a total of 10 open spots, as indicated by LIV Golf. Pat Perez, Graeme McDowell, David Puig, Bernd Wiesberger, Matt Jones, Ortiz are all available in free agency. Chase Koepka, Jediah Morgan, Sihwan Kim and James Piot were relegated from the league after finishing outside the top 44. A total of six spots can be filled by these players or players who are new to LIV Golf.
LIV Golf also has four slots that will be filled based on results of other tournaments or series: Andy Ogltree won the Asian Tour International Series Order of Merit for a slot, and their Promotions event will offer three spots in the series (including to those who were relegated). How those players are selected by the teams that have spots open after free agency isn't clear, but if I had to guess, it would be like a traditional draft and the worst team gets the first pick.
What I don't know is what the contract with the team means. Do players get paid a salary by the team in the deal? How long can the deals be? Do players negotiate signing bonuses or other perks? Do players sign a deal with LIV Golf at the same time? Are huge signing bonuses still avaiable as a carrot? There's a lot I'm not clear on, but there will be some significant measure of turnover into next year.
Basically this is the period where we'll learn who might go to LIV from the other major tours.
You have no doubt noticed that all kinds of major retailers are promoting early Black Friday sales that are starting this week -- if they haven't started already. That tells you what they're expecting this holiday season, so we're getting started early, too, with our annual list of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
In addition to that list, you can follow our @gnngolfdeals account on X (or Twitter) with updates on the latest and greatest sales every day of the year.
A shout out to the LPGA, which ends its season this week in Naples, Fla., at the CME Group Tour Championship. CME Group just signed on for a two-year extension of their sponsorship of the season-long points race and the season-ending tournament. The purse for the Tour Championship will bump up from $7 million to $11 million, while the first-place prize money will double from a record $2 million to an even-bigger record of $4 million.
Meanwhile, the LPGA Tour and ESPN have agreed to a two-year deal for the LPGA to have eight events covered with exclusive Featured Groups coverage. This is great for LPGA fans who will now have more and better coverage of the events outside the majors.