McIlroy rules out playing in Premier Golf League, says money should not be driving force

Rory McIlroy will not give up his "autonomy and freedom" for the sake of big money, and has ruled out joining the Premier Golf League.

Rory McIlroy has ruled out signing up for the Premier Golf League because he wants to be "on the right side of history".

The world number one is opposed to the plans for the breakaway competition, which could see professional golf at its highest level experience a major split.

England's Justin Rose has admitted the move could be financially appealing to many players, with an 18-tournament tour run by the World Golf Group set to offer annual prize-money of $240million.

However, McIlroy wants no part of the proposed new tour, saying it would take away his "autonomy and freedom".

"The more I've thought about it, the more I don't like it," McIlroy said on Wednesday.

McIlroy also believes 15-time major winner Tiger Woods would have no interest in signing up for the league, and without commitment from such star names the project may be a non-starter.

"The one thing as a professional golfer that I value is the fact that I have autonomy and freedom over everything that I do," McIlroy said in a news conference, ahead of this week's WGC-Mexico Championship.

"I pick and choose. This is a perfect example: some guys this week made the choice to not come to Mexico. If you go and play this other golf league, you're not going to have that choice.

"I read a thing the other day where it said if you take the money, they can tell you want to do, so if you don't take the money, they can't tell you what to do.

"And I think that's my thing. I've never been one for being told what to do, and 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."

Referring to a bid by Greg Norman to form a new tour in the mid-1990s, McIlroy indicated he was happy with the modern shape of golf's tours.

"People are looking at it purely from a monetary standpoint," McIlroy said. "I would like to be on the right side of history with this one, just like Arnold [Palmer] was with the Greg Norman thing in the nineties.

"I value a lot of other things over money and that's my stance on it at this point."

The Northern Irishman added: "Money's cheap, money's the easy part. It shouldn't be the driving factor.

"For some people it is, and we're professional golfers and we're out here playing golf to earn a living.

"But at the end of the day I value my freedom and my autonomy over everything else.

"Tiger's 44, he's got two young kids, he's openly said last week he wants to play 12 times a year. This league's proposing 18 [tournaments] so he's not going to do it."