Golf star Rory McIlroy has made it abundantly clear that there is no way at all he will ever play for LIV Golf. Well, he says that, but how serious are we to take that line in the sand since the historic feud between the PGA and LIV Golf has already ended with a merger deal that almost no one in the industry saw coming in the first place?
For McIlroy, unlike the bigwigs running the PGA, he’s at least been consistent about not being a LIV fan. For LIV however, they’re willing to find some way to keep him in the fold, even going as far as to recommend he go play in the breakaway circuit so he can make some money and still not have to concede too much to the Saudi-owned venture.
All this comes as a U.S. Senate Subcommittee, reviewing the proposed merger between the PGA Tour and the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF) which runs LIV, attempts to see whether or not this huge international business dealing is legal, or presents any risk to the United States.
As of now, the biggest takeaway from the documents reviewed by the committee show that inducements could be made to specific players who were the loudest opposition to LIV, specifically McIlroy and PGA legend Tiger Woods. The proposal offered both men the opportunity to own their own LIV teams and play in at least 10 LIV sanctioned events every year.
However, despite all the money that could be made from this Twilight Zone deal, McIlroy has essentially told the Saudis to go pack sand.
“If LIV Golf was the last place to play golf on Earth, I would retire. That’s how I feel about it,” McIlroy told the press during the opening round on Thursday at the Scottish Open. “I’d play the majors, but I’d be pretty comfortable.”
His answer shouldn’t shock anyone who has been tracking this whole strange chapter in the history of professional golf.
McIlroy already expressed his discontent about the impending merger with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Tournament when it was announced earlier in the summer. The deal as it stands will combine the biggest entities in golf – including the European Tour – creating a significant conglomerate.
LIV used its extensive wealth to secure a significant position in golf, attracting major names like Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, and Martin Kaymer, much to the dismay of traditionalists and fans. McIlroy and several others, however, rejected large sums of money to remain loyal to the PGA Tour, and in protest of human rights violations linked to Saudi Arabia.
Despite the merger, players who left for LIV can apply for reinstatement after the 2023 season, which has agitated many PGA players. McIlroy previously stated his dislike for LIV and everything it brought to golf remains unchanged, indicating that he anticipates its dissolution.
As of now though, the only safe assumption regarding this deal is that it’s not guaranteed to even go through. Details are currently vague about the entire scope of what this merger would mean. The concept however is that the PGA and LIV will create an entirely new entity that will have PIF provide an estimated $1 billion into the business.
But like I said, anything can still change.
As for McIlroy however, his opinion and stance don’t seem to be budging regardless of the outcome.