The 33-year-old has not only repeatedly publicly criticized LIV but also admitted that it’s become a personal mission of his to make LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman’s life as difficult as possible.
“I think Greg [Norman] needs to go. I think he just needs to exit stage left,” McIlroy said. “He’s made his mark but I think now is the right time to sort of say, look, you’ve got this thing off the ground but no one is going to talk unless there’s an adult in the room that can actually try to mend fences.”
But despite McIlroy’s open hostility toward both LIV and Norman, Norman said McIlroy would still be welcome to join LIV’s ranks.
“Our door is open for everybody,” Norman told Bunkered, a UK golf publication. “We’re not the PGA Tour. We’re not like that. We exist for the players, so we will always have an open door, whether that’s for Rory or Jordan Spieth or Justin Thomas or whoever.”
Speaking of Thomas, Norman said that he had an informational sit-down with the current World No. 8.
“We talked to JT,” Norman told Bunkered. “Me and another member of my team, we sat down with him and gave him the full presentation and, if you notice, he’s not said much negative about what we’re doing, presumably because he knows it and understands it.”
While Thomas hasn’t been as outspoken about LIV as McIlroy, on the No Laying Up podcast earlier this year, Thomas expressed his sense of betrayal regarding the players who did leave, and the reasons they cited for doing so.
“I just wish one of them would have the balls to say I’m doing this for the money,” Thomas said on the podcast. “Like, I personally would gain a lot more respect for that. But it’s just the more the players keep talking and saying that this is for the betterment of the game, the more agitated and irritated I get about it.”
On this issue of his LIV position at LIV, Norman said he feels secure.
“Rory and Tiger have no idea what they’re talking about,” he told Bunkered. “None whatsoever. I have got the full support from my chairman. One hundred percent. One thousand percent. There has never been one thing to suggest otherwise. But I know what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to bait me to draw me into a public back and forth with them and I’m not going to go down that childish path.”
LIV Golf is set to play a 14-tournament schedule in 2023, half of which has been published with dates and host courses. The first event is scheduled to begin Feb. 24 in Mayakoba, Mexico, followed by stops in Arizona, Australia, Singapore, Oklahoma, Spain and West Virginia.