‘Golf is ripping itself apart’: Rory McIlroy gets brutally honest about LIV-PGA Tour feud
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McIlroy is in the midst of a fall stretch playing primarily on the DP World Tour, which this week visits St. Andrews, Scotland, for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, held at three local courses, the Old Course among them.
But unlike the Italian Open two weeks ago, where McIlroy finished fourth, the Dunhill Links field features several pros who now play for LIV, securing their spots while a lawsuit over a LIV ban plays out in court.
Questions about LIV abound in any McIlroy press conference these days, but especially so this week, where reporters asked the four-time major champion a litany of LIV-related queries.
As usual, McIlroy was open and honest with his thoughts. He said that the game of golf was “ripping itself apart” amid the dispute between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, and he reiterated his support for negotiations between the two organizations, while adding some hesitation regarding the timing.
“I’ve always said I think there is a time and a place where everyone that’s involved here should sit down and try to work together,” McIlroy shared on Wednesday. “It’s very hard for that to happen right now when there’s two lawsuits going on.”
Whatever happens, McIlroy made it clear that something needs to be done to change the damaging status quo.
“I don’t want a fractured game. I never have. You look at some other sports and what’s happened and the game of golf is ripping itself apart right now,” McIlroy told reporters in St. Andrews, “And that’s no good for anyone. It’s no good for the guys on, you know, this side or the sort of traditional system and it’s no 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 just think right now, with where everything is, it’s probably not the right time.”
McIlroy also displayed a willingness to appease LIV players in their effort to get the Official World Golf Ranking to award ranking points at LIV tournaments.
McIlroy said he “certainly would want” the best golfers ranked accurately in the OWGR, noting, “I think Dustin Johnson is somewhere around 100th in the world. It’s not an accurate reflection of where he is in the game.”
But he was quick to add that such a move would require some compromise on LIV Golf’s end when it comes to competition structure.
“But at the same time, you can’t make up your own rules. There’s criteria there, everyone knows what they are and if they want to pivot to meet the criteria they can,” McIlroy said. “I certainly have no problem with them getting ranking points at all. But you just have to meet the criteria, and if you don’t meet the criteria, it’s going to be hard to justify why you should have them.”