McIlroy says he was too judgmental of LIV golfers

January 4, 2024 6:24 am

Boston Common Golf player Rory McIlroy [Source: Reuters]

Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy says he regrets being too quick to judge players who joined the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf and now accepts it is part of the sport.

The Northern Irishman has been a vocal critic since the breakaway tour launched in 2022 and signed up a host of big names, causing a rift that threatened to tear golf apart.

McIlroy previously accused some of those who jumped ship as being duplicitous and that he would rather retire than join LIV.

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But the 34-year-old is beginning to mellow and says it is no longer his job to fight the battle.

LIV Golf launched amidst great fanfare and with cries of ‘sportswashing’ in 2022 with winner Charl Schwartzel walking off with an eye-watering $4.75 million for winning the first event in London — the biggest prize in golfing history.

Last year American Talor Gooch was the overall LIV Golf champion, scooping around $36 million from a prize pool of $300 million. While the PGA Tour has increased prize money in response, McIlroy said it is a futile battle.

Peace, of sorts, broke out last year when a shock merger between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf was announced out of the blue, although negotiations are ongoing.

McIlroy says its not his job to ‘fight the good fight’ but still takes issue with players ‘talking crap’ about the PGA Tour or European DP World Tour after signing for LIV.