For two years, Rory McIlroy has been the PGA Tour’s greatest defender and best ambassador. He has become the biggest critic of the rival tour, the LIV Golf Series. But things have changed.
“Perhaps I was too critical of players joining the LIV Golf Tour from the start and I believe that was a mistake on my part, because I realize now that it is not not everyone who is in my position or that of Tiger,” he clarified in a long interview with the Stick to football podcast, broadcast Wednesday. Obviously speaking of the comfortable financial situation in which he and the greatest player of all time find themselves.
The four-time major golfer realized over the past two years that even though he wanted to make the world he lives in better, he couldn’t choose for the people around him. In his opinion, he judged his colleagues too quickly, because he was never able to put himself in their shoes. As he clarified, McIlroy never received any offers to play on the Saudi circuit.
What bothered him the most, he says, was the division of his sport. The two circuits are so different, whether in terms of regulations or morals, that it was almost inevitable that such a rivalry would emerge. “I think it would have been possible to find a way so that it wouldn’t disrupt our sport so brutally. »
“Golf is a small sport,” he said. It’s not like soccer which has billions of fans. So if we start dividing golf fans into two camps, it’s not good for anyone. »
In this same interview, McIlroy reveals that there is no animosity between the players of the two circuits, as has been possible to see in the last four major tournaments. Some media outlets have attempted to create a war or non-existent rivalry between players. In reality, no one blames anyone.
However, the 34-year-old golfer was angered by the behavior of some players jumping the fence. Especially those who spat on the PGA Tour when they left. “When LIV players talk shit about the tour that brought them into the world, it bothers me, because they would never have reached this stage in their career if they hadn’t gone through this circuit. »
He says he “understands why some players turn to the LIV,” but “don’t set a fire behind you by leaving,” he asks golfers considering crossing to the other side.
A good friend of McIlroy’s, Jon Rahm, was the last major player to join the Saudi ranks. This is undoubtedly the biggest catch on the circuit. He will undoubtedly be the best player to play on the LIV circuit. The Spaniard said yes to $500 million.
McIlroy believes that with the announcement in June that the two leagues would unify, something which has not yet been done, Rahm’s decision is a little better explained than that of the first deserters.
“Jon is a smart guy and I think he sees the two circuits as one as well. So he’s going to take the money and if the two tours come together, he’s going to have played on the LIV Tour for a year, he’s going to have made a lot of money and he’s going to come back to the PGA Tour to play team events. »
The Northern Irishman even clarified that “it was a good business decision for Jon. It was timely. » As a merger approached, he was in a “privileged situation.”