Apologies for the late-night musings, but my inability to sleep has led me to write this post. I've been monitoring aircraft linked to the PGA Tour, LIV, PIF, and various athletes and golfers for a while. Regularly tracked planes include the PGA Tour's N795HG and Saudi Aramco's N650XA, closely associated with Yasir Al-Rumayyan of the PIF. Recently, I've added planes like N651XA (another Saudi aircraft), N604JJ (Jimmy Dunne), N510GD (Algonquin Aviation), among others. These planes are all connected to influential figures in the golfing world.
A few athletes who own their aircraft are also on my radar. Tiger Woods' N517TW, though unrelated to this discussion, is one such example. More pertinent is Rory McIlroy's N585RM. For the past 2-3 years, Rory's plane has annually visited Lincoln, NE, for maintenance and upgrades, including a recent stay from December 8, 2023, to January 12, 2024, before returning to South Florida.
In the same timeframe, Jay Monahan, PGA Tour's commissioner, reportedly visited Yasir in Saudi Arabia to discuss a potential PGA-LIV merger. The PGA Tour's plane, N795HG, landed in NYC on January 14, 2024. It's unclear which plane Monahan used for his Middle East trip, but several private jets, including Yasir's, were in Zurich around this time.
From January 22nd to 25th, 2024, several key movements occurred:
- Yasir's aircraft made its way to the NYC area (1/22). Track this flight.
- Rory McIlroy's plane made its way to London Farnborough from South Florida following his Dubai win (1/22). Track this flight.
- Planes associated with Jimmy Dunne and Monahan also headed to NYC (1/23). Track these flights.
- The other Saudi plane flew to the London area (1/23). Track this flight.
- Yasir departs NY for London Stansted and the repositions to London Farnborough where Rory McIlroy's plane has been for 3 days (1/25). Track this flight.
My speculation centers around Rory potentially being enticed by Saudi investment. Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the PIF's governor, plays a significant role in funding sports, including golf. Monahan and Yasir's recent meeting in Saudi Arabia likely involved negotiations affecting the global golf community. Rory, having just won in Dubai, had his plane in London at the same time as another Saudi aircraft. Yasir's plane moved from NYC to London, ending up at the same airport as Rory's after a brief stop at London Stansted.
What this all signifies is uncertain. However, it could indicate an impending major announcement regarding LIV and PGA. With rumors of Rory relocating his family to London, these events might be coincidental or suggest Rory is considering a significant offer from Saudi interests.