Report :Who’s got next behind Woods and McIlroy as the face of the PGA Tour? It’s tough to say.

Report :Who’s got next behind Woods and McIlroy as the face of the PGA Tour? It’s tough to say.

Questions during McIlroy’s Wednesday press conference were cut off at only nine minutes, as if he’d only agreed to put himself through the ordeal if promised a quick exit.

Take note, though, that he still showed up.

That’s more than could be said for Xander Schauffele (world No. 3), who blew off his scheduled PGA press conference Tuesday afternoon. Three others high in the world rankings – Wyndham Clark (No. 4), Viktor Hovland (No. 7) and Patrick Cantlay (No. 8) – didn’t have an appearance scheduled at all.

McIlroy didn’t have to be there to field questions. It says something that he did, given the events of this week, and it was on brand. McIlroy has been stepping up as a leading, thoughtful voice during the recent turmoil, and that has increased popularity that goes back to when he was a youngster first taking golf by storm. When McIlroy won the 2014 PGA Championship in dwindling daylight at Valhalla, it was his fourth major victory in three years.

“I thought at that point in time that we might see Rory win 10 major championships,” said Andy North, former golfer and ESPN analyst.

But now, McIlroy is 35 years old, and his most recent major victory is that PGA in 2014. Greatness has been elusive, but McIlroy remains a huge name who has a big game. His sport needs more of those.

The only golfer at the PGA this week with a bigger following is Tiger Woods, and he’s 48. The rare times that Tiger tees it up anymore, you’re holding your breath about him being physically able to finish.

More: At PGA Championship, Tiger Woods is looking to turn back time

Who’s got next behind Woods and McIlroy as the face of the PGA Tour? It’s tough to say.

World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler seems like a great dude with whom you’d enjoy hanging out. But bless his heart, he has no desire to be that celebrity we can’t stop talking about. Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm were bought out by LIV, and as for once-promising talents like Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth or Rickie Fowler, their games have too often been letting them down of late.

The public’s appetite still exists for golf, as proven by the success of Netflix’s wonderful “Full Swing” series that was allowed to go behind the curtain into golfers’ lives, highlighting who they really are. It was refreshing because that so rarely happens in this sport.

Take a guess who featured prominently in each of the show’s two seasons.

Yup. McIlroy.

He’s that guy. Even more so, he doesn’t mind being that guy we all want to watch. If that guy can endure his personal drama and play himself into contention Sunday at Valhalla, a lot of eyes out there will be watching.

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