The chief executive officer of Golf Australia dismissed a recent report that Rory McIlroy did not play the Australian Open because he demanded a larger appearance fee.
The Australian Golf Digest reported Dec. 4 that the world No. 1’s management team had an “arrangement” in place to play the Australian Open, but negotiations broke down once McIlroy won the PGA Championship and sought a $2 million appearance bonus.
Stephen Pitt, the CEO of Golf Australia, denied that report in a statement Thursday, saying, “this simply isn’t true.”
“I can confirm there was no agreement in place with Rory McIlroy or his management at any point for Rory to play in this year’s Open,” he said, via multiple media reports. “In addition to not having any agreement in place, at no stage were Golf Australia or tournament organizers advised by Rory’s management that his appearance costs had increased. This simply isn’t true.”
McIlroy, who won five worldwide tournaments this season and was named the PGA Tour Player of the Year, last played at the European Tour’s season-ending event, the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. He is expected to make his 2013 debut at the Abu Dhabi Championship in mid-January.
Said Conor Ridge, McIlroy’s manager: “Both Rory and Horizon Sports Management value our reputation for professionalism and integrity. Hence, when such inaccuracies are reported in the media, we have an obligation to set the record straight. It has been five years since Rory last played in Australia, but he is very much looking forward to returning down there to play again in the near future.”