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‘Full Swing’ Episode 8 recap: The Rory McIlroy One

Rory McIlroy defends the PGA TOUR from outside enemies.

The Genesis Invitational - Round Three Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Check out our Episode 7 recap here.

Full Swing’s biggest get of the season was Rory McIlroy. His appearance added a lot of legitimacy to the show, even if the creators weren’t quite sure what to do with him in the final episode. The biggest headline of the show’s final episode was Rory saying “F*#) you” to Phil Mickelson — not to his face, of course, but in front of the cameras.

McIlroy has been the most outspoken voice against LIV Golf since its conception. There’s a scene where fans thank him for speaking up, but you get the sense that he’s not doing it for the glory. He acknowledges that it may have become too personal, but we do see him as a sort of team captain for the PGA TOUR, a group of self-employed athletes who have every financial reason to jump ship.

He talks about the initial meeting in which PGA TOUR commissioner Jay Monahan introduced the new “elevated events,” which offer a much larger purse than standard tournaments but require golfers to play in them, which apparently brought on some pushback. Rory, ever the big brother, scoffs and points out that no other sport has athletes who are allowed to play whenever they feel like it.

We go through McIlroy’s FedExCup Championship win and his majors drought, but the core of the final episode asks: what is the product that the PGA TOUR wants to put out? We saw why guys are going to LIV. Here’s why they’re staying with the PGA TOUR.

Cam Smith leaves for LIV. Does the show accurately convey what a blow that was, to have a young major winner with everything ahead of him to leave the PGA TOUR? Perhaps not. They don’t quite dig enough into just how much the introduction of the Saudi league has changed the landscape of the PGA TOUR.

We hear about Rory and Tiger’s circle-the-wagons meeting with the players, but we don’t see it or learn much more about it than what was already out there. We have plenty of behind-the-scenes access to players’ lives, but the intricacies and controversies of the sport itself and the politics that accompany it are often glanced over or underplayed.

Final thoughts on the show: if this starts picking up some non-golf viewers, it will do what it was supposed to. It will save the sport for a little bit longer in a post-Tiger era that has seen viewership wane. But it won’t ask the hard questions for which more involved golf fans want answers.