Rory McIlroy jabs LIV Golf players (twice) at testy BMW PGA event

Rory McIlroy opened the BMW PGA Championship with a four-under 68 on Thursday.

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Rory McIlroy knew the questions were coming but had no qualms about taking them head on.

“What percentage of your FedExCup prize money would you give us if we didn’t mention a certain topic in this press conference?” he was asked by a reporter to begin his BMW PGA Championship press conference on Wednesday.

“Oh, I want you to,” McIlroy said. “I want you to. Give me it all. It’s fine.”

The LIV Golf vs. PGA Tour battle continues in the golf world, and while Jon Rahm and Billy Horschel aired their grievances at Wentworth, McIlroy, who has been one of the most vocal and prominent PGA Tour backers, decided to jab the LIV players in the field in a more subtle way. Twice.

First, some background. More than a dozen LIV Golf members are in the field at this week’s DP World Tour flagship event. Like the PGA Tour did with its defectors, the DP World Tour suspended the players that left its league too, but a U.K. arbiter granted a stay of execution. So they are still here, and they have taken spots away from DP World Tour players.

“They shouldn’t be here, but again that’s just my opinion,” McIlroy said. “But we are all going to tee it up on the 1st tee [Thursday] and we are all going to go play 72 holes, which is a novelty for them at this point, and then we’ll go from there.”

McIlroy, wasting no time to comment on LIV’s 54-hole format, added he doesn’t have much of a relationship with his fellow European Ryder Cup players-turned LIV signees in the field this week (Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter), but at least one of them seemed to take issue with anti-LIV comments Horschel made on Tuesday.

In a video shared on Twitter, Horschel and Poulter engage in a spirited discussion on the practice green at Wentworth Club. While it’s unclear what was said, it’s not difficult to connect the dots on the potential subject.

McIlroy ended his press conference with a question about facing off against a LIV player this week. Down the stretch and in contention with a LIV player come Sunday, the reporter asked, would there be some extra motivation for McIlroy to win?

“I’ll be trying to win a golf tournament regardless,” he said. “They are going to be pretty tired on Sunday; it will be the fourth day.”

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Josh Berhow

Golf.com Editor

Josh Berhow is the managing editor at GOLF.com. The Minnesota native graduated with a journalism degree from Minnesota State University in Mankato. You can reach him at joshua_berhow@golf.com.