Rory McIlroy on Wednesday said golf was “tearing itself apart” as tensions between the PGA Tour and Saudi-backed LIV Golf continue to divide the sport.
McIlroy, a 22-time winner on the PGA Tour, said the gap comes at the expense of players on both sides.
“I don’t want a broken game,” McIlroy told reporters at Wednesday’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
“It’s not good for the guys on this side or that kind of traditional system and it’s not good for the guys on the other side either. It’s no good for anyone. There is a time and a place for it. I think right now, where everything is, it’s probably not the right time.”
Things are even starting to heat up in court as several golfers challenged bans they received from other tours for attending a LIV event.
“I’ve always said there’s a time and place when everyone involved should sit down and try to work together,” McIlroy said. “It’s very difficult for that to happen now when there are two court cases going on.”
In an interview with the BBC, McIlroy said it was up to the players who had joined the breakaway LIV series to help ease tensions between the two sides.
“I would just say they have the ball,” said McIlroy. “If they want to come to the table and try to play well in the sandbox that has already been created, the opportunity is there.
“I’ve probably said a few things that are too inflammatory at times, but it just comes from the heart and how much I hate what that’s doing to the game. If we can send rockets to the moon and bring them back and let them land on their own, I’m sure we can figure out how to make professional golf coherent again.”
Those on the LIV circuit have also insisted they should receive points from the official world golf rankings, which McIlroy doesn’t necessarily see as a problem given a number of talented golfers have been linked to the LIV tour.
But since LIV competitors play three rounds — just 54 holes — in each tournament while the PGA Tour plays four rounds, McIlroy said there has to be some kind of compromise if that’s to happen.
“You can’t make up your own rules,” McIlroy said. “There are criteria, everyone knows what they are and if they want to spin to meet the criteria, they can.
“I certainly have no problem at all with them getting ranking points. But you just have to meet the criteria, and if you don’t meet the criteria, it becomes hard to justify why you should have them.”
The PGA Tour and LIV Golf making peace with each other seems unlikely. PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan reiterated his opinion on LIV in an interview with ESPN on Wednesday.
“They went their way, and I think we’ve been pretty consistent about going ours,” Monahan told ESPN when asked if the tours could coexist, “and I don’t see that, and I don’t.”
Monahan expressed confidence that the PGA Tour will outlast LIV Golf.
“Every young kid today, every kid who’s going to play the game in the future, will ultimately want to win the biggest championships and the biggest tournaments and, as their golf journey progresses, put themselves in a position and on a path to get on the PGA Tour and … to play at the highest level,” he said.
“We will continue to evolve and grow stronger in every single area of this spectrum or this journey.”
Reuters contributed to this report.
https://www.espn.com/golf/story/_/id/34688058/rory-mcilroy-says-liv-causing-golf-rip-apart Rory McIlroy says fight between PGA Tour, LIV Golf has sport ‘ripping itself apart’