Rory McIlroy took another swipe at LIV Golf on Sunday as he prepared for battle at The Open Championship – the final golf major of the year – later this week.
McIlroy said last week he understood why some professionals jumped to LIV Golf but did not want them to come back over to the PGA Tour should the rival league fall apart. When asked whether he has softened his stance on the Saudi-backed tour, McIlroy said there was “no room” for the organization.
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“I don’t think it shifted in terms of the internal dialogue that we’ve had going on for a while. I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritty details of what’s going on behind the scenes. In my opinion,” he told CBS Sports “… There’s no room in the golf world for LIV Golf. Let’s put it that way. I don’t agree with what LIV is doing. If LIV went away tomorrow, I’d be super happy. My stance hasn’t softened on that.”
McIlroy said where his stance has softened is where the money is coming from.
“… I just look at every other sport and I see the money that’s going in there and I can see what benefits that has. It’s hard because, ultimately, do you want more money being invested into the PGA Tour? I think, yes, that would be great. And if these guys are willing to do that and scrap the whole LIV thing …
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“So, Yasir (Al-Rumayyan), the head of the (Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia), he loves golf. Do you think these people around him want to facilitate a meeting with the powers that be, whether it be (DP World Tour CEO) Keith Pelley or (PGA Tour Commissioner) Jay Monahan? Probably not because, all of a sudden, their job is in jeopardy.
“My stance hasn’t softened on LIV, per se. I don’t agree with what they’re doing in the sport. My stance has maybe softened on the investment side of things or in terms of: Is there a way [to] play ball and invest in the wider golf ecosystem where this can benefit everyone instead of just benefiting 48 guys? And that’s sort of my whole thing on it. I don’t know if that will ever happen, but that’s basically what I was trying to say in those comments in that BBC interview a few days ago.”
McIlroy maintained he thinks the sport could benefit from a major investment but not if Saudi Arabia is trying to “own golf.” He said if the kingdom could “play nicely in the ecosystem” then it would work out nicely for golf.
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LIV Golf players will be able to play at this week’s British Open. McIlroy won the event in 2014.