The rise of LIV Golf has injected the sport with a virtually unprecedented amount of drama over the past year or so, and while no one really knew what the endgame was going to be, it was hard no to be shocked by the bombshell news that broke on Tuesday morning.
Rumors of some sort of truce between LIV and the PGA Tour have been swirling for a while, but the two parties officially decided to put their differences aside when they announced they’d agreed to the merger that will effectively bring the bitter feud to an end.
That development understandably didn’t thrill plenty of golfers who’d remained loyal to the PGA Tour and were apparently blindsided by the news, and commissioner Jay Monahan reportedly failed to win most of them over during a meeting he held in an attempt to dress the fallout.
It was very hard not to wonder how Rory McIlroy felt about the merger when you consider he’d emerged as the unofficial spokesperson for the PGA Tour after firing countless shots at LIV Golf and CEO Greg Norman prior to the announcement of the ceasefire.
On Wednesday, we got our answer when McIlory sat down to speak with the members of the media who’ve descended upon Oakdale Golf & Country Club ahead of this week’s Canadian Open, and, well, he wasn’t shy about sharing exactly what was on his mind.
Rory McIlroy has his say on the PGA Tour merger with LIV Golf, says it’s ultimately good for the game. pic.twitter.com/NuKZnBtw31
— LIV Golf Latest (@LIVGolfLatest) June 7, 2023
McIlroy said he learned about the impending merger on Monday night, and while it’s pretty obvious he’s less than thrilled with how things went down, he said he feels that “ultimately this is going to be good for the game of professional golf.”
He also said he still has confidence in the leadership abilities of the embattled Monahan despite describing himself as a “sacrificial lamb,” but he made sure to stress his feelings about LIV Golf as an organization haven’t changed despite the two sides technically joining forces.
“I still hate LIV, I hope it goes away”
Rory McIlroy says the merger between PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Golf ‘is not LIV’…pic.twitter.com/5Vivcz1Kbz
— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) June 7, 2023
He also addressed the controversy the PGA Tour will be forced to grapple with now that it’s inextricably linked to the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund that was responsible for the bulk of the controversy surrounding LIV Golf.
Rory on Saudi money: "I've come to terms with it. I've resigned myself to … this is what's going to happen. It's very hard to keep up with people who have more money than anyone else."
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) June 7, 2023
While he certainly didn’t mince his words, McIlroy could’ve scorched the earth more than he did based on how much he’s done for the PGA Tour since the advent of LIV, so it’ll be very interesting to see how the relationship evolves going forward.