What did Rory McIlroy say in his press conference about the new LIV and PGA merger?
The sudden announcement of a merger between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour caught everyone off guard, including Rory McIlroy who let his feelings be known.
Throughout the last two years of turmoil in the golf world, there have been players who have come down on either side of the issue, some more forcefully than others. One of the most vocal opponents of LIV Golf has been Rory McIlroy and now breaking his silence over the merger deal brokered with the PGA Tour, the Northern Irishman is just as intransigent as ever.
“I still hate LIV. Like, I hate LIV. Like, I hope it goes away. And I would fully expect that it does,” said McIlroy, letting his colors fly even higher on the mast than ever before.
The distinction that McIlroy makes is that the deal is between the the Saudi Public Investment Fund, the PGA Tour, and Europe’s DP World Tour. Not LIV Golf. McIlroy is drawing an exceedingly fine line in saying that the PIF and LIV are not the same thing, despite the one owning the other.
In fact, the principal objection to LIV Golf by McIlroy and others has been exactly the fact that LIV was “Saudi owned.” For “Saudi” you can read “Public Investment Fund”.
To be fair to Rory, he did admit that he sees the business sense of the merger, recognizing the mixed emotions that he was having. “It was a surprise, I knew there had been discussions going on in the background but I didn’t expect it to happen as quickly as it did.”
The deal done was very much a case of the PGA digging itself out of a legal hole, with an anti-trust lawsuit in the US due to be heard in the new year, and a similar case in London having just gone against them. Regardless of the reasons, the merger is widely seen as being ultimately the best thing for golf in the long run, a fact that McIlroy acknowledges.
“I think ultimately, when I try to remove myself from the situation and try to look at the bigger picture and I look 10 years down the line, I think ultimately it’s going to be good for the game of professional golf. It unifies it and secures its financial future.”
McIlroy was the enfant terrible when he took the world of golf by storm a decade ago. As time has progressed, however, it is difficult to deny that he has become Shooter McGavin, clinging to a glorious past that never really existed in the first place.
One thing is certain, though, and that is that Rory is a consummate professional and while we mull his words and their meaning over, he will be training for tomorrow’s RBC Canadian Open golf tournament.