Let us pause for a moment here at the turn to praise Rory McIlroy.

First, of course, for his remarkable comeback victory in the Tour Championship and the arrival of an $18 million check (wow, that’s almost LIV money!).

Despite a couple of miscues, McIlroy hung on and defeated the man who currently is the world’s best player, proving that he still has what it takes to succeed on the game’s biggest stages.

More importantly, though, at least in the bigger picture, was what McIlroy had to say before the Tour Championship even started. This was among his quotes as the PGA Tour announced massive changes that will revolutionize the way professional golf is played in this country (and, not incidentally, lift the Tour’s profile vs. LIV Golf):

“When I tune into a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game, I expect to see Tom Brady throw a football. When I tune into a Formula 1 race, I expect to see Lewis Hamilton in a car. Sometimes what’s happened on the PGA Tour is we all act independently and we sort of have our own schedules, and that means that we never really get together all that often.”

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!

McIlroy hit the proverbial nail on its proverbial head with this comment. For far too many Sundays, we sit in front of our increasingly wider-screen televisions and watch the final round of golf tournaments featuring a cast of characters we barely recognize. To carry McIlroy’s comparison a bit deeper, it’s like watching Golden State play with Steph Curry missing or the Angels taking the field without Mike Trout.

With all due respect to the young whippersnappers trying to establish themselves at golf’s highest level, the interest of most fans rests with the sport’s big names. We want to see them thrive or dive in big moments with the tournament trophy on the line over the closing nine holes. We want drama, and we want the lead actors involved in it.

This is what McIlroy emphasized, and it’s a major plus that the PGA Tour is taking steps to ensure that more big-name players will be on hand for a significant number of events, that you won’t be buying a ticket to the tournament closest to your house and then not recognizing anybody in the first eight groups to tee off.

Most of the world’s best players have the kind of financial wealth the average citizen can only dream of. This in large part explains why most of them don’t play every time there’s an opportunity, but the Tour’s new initiative will put them on course much more often, and, in the end, that’s all the better for the game.

It’s all a reaction to the significant threat posed by LIV Golf, of course, but, in an odd sort of way, it will grow the game. And isn’t that what the LIV folks claim is everybody’s aim?

Mike Hembree

Mike Hembree is a veteran journalist who has covered a variety of sports for numerous publications and websites, including USA Today, Fox Sports, TV Guide and The Greenville (S.C.) News. He has written 14 books and has won numerous writing awards at the national, regional and state levels. He is a seven-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.