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‘There’s an alpha in there, and it’s not me’: Rory McIlroy says Tiger Woods’ presence at players meeting is impactful

Tiger Woods has been the face of the PGA Tour for more than two decades.

He commands attention. He’s one of the most popular and recognizable athletes in the world. That’s why his presence Tuesday in Wilmington, Delaware, ahead of the 2022 BMW Championship, the penultimate event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, is so impactful.

Woods flew in from Florida for a players meeting involving some of the top PGA Tour players to discuss the future of the Tour. Those involved included Woods, Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele and Rory McIlroy, among others. And it was clear early to McIlroy who was in charge.

“I think it’s pretty apparent that whenever we all get in the room, there’s an alpha in there, and it’s not me,” McIlroy said.

Woods’ appearance Tuesday, which was caught on camera when his plane arrived, shows how pivotal the meeting was in the professional golf realm. The PGA Tour is going under a lot of changes to combat the LIV Golf Series, and Woods has never wavered from the side of the Tour, even turning down a huge offer from LIV.

McIlroy isn’t surprised at all at the roll Woods has taken on.

“It’s impactful, and I think it shows how much he cares about the Tour,” said McIlroy. “I think it shows how much he cares about the players that are coming through and are going to be the next generation. Like it or not, they can’t really sell Tiger Woods anymore. The Tour had an easy job for 20 years. They don’t have Tiger — yes, they’ve got a bunch of us and we’re all great players, but we’re not Tiger Woods.

“He is the hero that we’ve all looked up to. His voice carries further than anyone else’s in the game of golf. His role is navigating us to a place where we all think we should be.”

McIlroy thinks Woods has an extreme impact on both the Tour and its players. That’s why they’re trying to figure out what the best next steps are.

“I think he’s carried the Tour for a long, long time. I think we as players that were his contemporaries that were a little older than me but even the guys coming behind, we’ve all benefitted from that. But as I said, how can we keep benefiting from that going forward.

“We’re moving into a different era, and we just have to think about things a little differently.”

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