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Frustrated with ‘messy’ PGA Tour-LIV Golf split, Rory McIlroy hopes leagues can find common ground

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Rory McIlroy has placed himself at the epicenter of the feud between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf in recent months, loudly and consistently declaring his allegiance to the PGA Tour. While none of his language about his personal future changed this week while playing the JP McManus Pro-Am in Ireland, the way he discussed the future of golf, as a sport, changed a bit from where he has been. in the past. .

“It’s complicated,” McIlroy said of the split between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf. “I wish it hadn’t gotten so messy. In hindsight I think there were probably steps that were overlooked that wouldn’t have made it so messy. I think in the long run it will improve the game.”

“Right now, this disruption is happening. With disruption comes change and forced change, and I think this has just forced the [PGA] Tour hand in hand a bit. They’re going to have to adapt and change, and I think that’s what they’re going to have to try and do.”

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The PGA Tour has already begun to adapt and change by announcing a revised big-money schedule, as well as the addition of three events in the fall, exclusive to top players. worth up to $20 million in prizes. They also created a smaller FedEx Cup Playoffs and developed more consequences for not making the top 70 at the end of the regular season.

McIlroy later agreed, when asked, that ultimately there will have to be peace talks between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Golf.

“I think that has to happen,” he said. “There is a lot of talk about where the money comes from and Saudi Arabia [Arabia] And everything else. They sponsor many other things. They are all over sports. I understand people’s reservations about everything, but at the same time, if these people are serious about investing billions of dollars in golf, I think ultimately that’s a good thing.

“The whole narrative is that it’s not good; it’s dividing the game instead of everyone coming together. I think everyone should try to come together a little bit more.”

LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman recently said he contacted PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan to no avail.

“I got on the phone with him,” Norman said during an appearance on Fox News. “I communicated, I left messages… [The PGA Tour should give their] members the opportunity to have other places to go. They are independent contractors. They have every right to do so.”

It’s unclear what a future relationship between the three tours might look like or how it might affect the world’s best players, but it doesn’t sound like McIlroy has any plans to walk away from the PGA Tour even though he identifies with those who left. .

“Dropout is a strong word,” McIlroy said when asked how he viewed golfers who have moved to LIV Golf. “I understand why the guys went, especially the ones in the later stages of their careers. If I were in their position, I’d have to seriously think about doing the same thing. I get it. Is there a difference of opinion? Yes, but I can argue with you about a certain thing. [and] I’ll still like you in the end.

“So, there’s a difference of opinion. And I would have done things a little bit differently. I think, at this stage, if you go and play a different tour, then you go and play a different tour. I think the whole ‘Have your cake and eat it’ is what [created] the resentment… within the members. For me, I have no grudge against anyone. A lot of these guys are my friends and will continue to be regardless of what decisions they make.”

McIlroy also made another comment that echoed something recently said by DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley.

“[Saudi oil company] Aramco are big sponsors of Formula One, the Aramco Ladies Series in golf, which has actually been very good for the ladies in terms of grand prix and stuff, so I understand people’s reservations about everything,” McIlroy explained, according to the BBC.

“But at the same time, if these people are serious about investing billions of dollars in golf, I think ultimately that’s a good thing. But it has to be done the right way, and I think if they were to invest, that it be invested within existing structures. And I think that’s what I’ve been trying to advocate for over the last couple of months. I think at this point, if people want to spend that much money on golf, that’s wonderful. I just wish that He could have spent so much money within the structure that has been around for many decades in golf instead of being this big disruptor.”

Although there will be a respite next week during the 150th Open Championship, this conversation will no doubt continue through the fall and winter as the world’s best players try to figure out where they will play and those who run these three leagues try to make everything work.

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