Rory McIlroy, who is now in his 13th year on the PGA Tour and a four-time winner of a major championship, has been the most ardent opponent of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit that has been rocking the professional ranks for the last six months.
McIlroy’s criticism of the competing league became increasingly vocal on Tuesday, a few days after LIV Golf hosted its first tournament in a location other than London. He found an ally in Jon Rahm, who is the defending champion at this week’s U.S. Open, which is being held at the Country Club in a location other than Boston. McIlroy made this statement in reference to his win at the Canadian Open on the PGA Tour the previous week and in contrast to the competition that LIV Golf hosted: “Last week in Canada, LIV will never have that.” The previous week was significant in some way. What they were doing over there was completely meaningless.
McIlroy has long emphasised that the LIV Golf series is more of an exhibition than a competition. The LIV Golf series is owned by the Public Investment Fund, which is the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia. The LIV Golf series pays golfers hefty appearance fees and guarantees that everyone in the field will be awarded a substantial payout. For example, at the halfway stage of practically every PGA Tour event, half of the players in the field, or those with the highest scores, are removed from the competition and sent packing without receiving any kind of financial reward for their efforts.
He continued by saying, “I want to play against the greatest in the world in a format that has been around for one hundred years.” This is exactly what I want to observe. I’ll admit that cash is nice to have, but I can honestly say that I’ve never played a round of golf for the money. I play because I have a passion for the sport, and I want to compete against the very best players in the world.
McIlroy was unsparing on the same issue, particularly when mentioning the few younger players, like as Bryson DeChambeau, 28, who have chosen LIV Golf over the PGA Tour. McIlroy was referring to players who are 28 years old or younger. The majority of the great personalities who have signed on to participate in LIV are of an advanced age and were enticed to participate by signing upfront contracts of at least $150 million. According to reports, Phil Mickelson, who is 51 years old, was offered close to $200 million to sign on.
McIlroy, who is 33 years old and hails from Northern Ireland, said, “I understand, since a lot of these players are in their late 40s or, in the case of Phil, early 50s.” “Yeah, I believe everyone in this room is in agreement with me, and I’m sure they’d tell you the same thing if you asked them: their greatest days are behind them.
“Since of this, I don’t understand why men my age or younger are travelling over there, because I would like to think that some of the finest times of my life are still to come. And I believe that theirs are as well. Therefore, doing that gives the impression that you are pursuing the path of least resistance.
McIlroy said, when asked why he has been so ardent in his loyalty to the PGA Tour, “I simply believe it’s the proper thing to do.”
He then went on to cite the hundreds of millions of dollars that PGA Tour tournaments have collected for a wide variety of charitable organisations and added: “That is a big legacy and something that I don’t believe people speak about enough.”
In the past, McIlroy has been incorrect in his evaluation of the LIV Golf series, and this is a fact that cannot be denied. In February, he said that the business endeavour was “doomed to failure.” Even McIlroy’s reaction, which he gave on Tuesday in response to a question about that error in judgement, was intended to be somewhat of a proverbial punch in the nose to those who had abandoned the PGA Tour.
Brooks Koepka, who enjoys playing the part of a contrarian, had a different perspective on the divide between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf around 90 minutes after Rory McIlroy had spoken to the media about it.
Koepka expressed his frustration that the coverage of the news media was “casting this dark cloud over the U.S. Open.”