Rory McIlroy has reiterated his stance that he does not want to participate in the LIV Golf League insisting he is happy on the PGA Tour while he can understand why players have made the decision to go.
The first LIV event takes place on Thursday with Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen and Sergio Garcia among the headline names with Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed reportedly set to link up at a later date.
McIlroy was speaking ahead of the RBC Canadian Open where he defends the title he won in 2019 after a three-year hiatus for the tournament.
“I think my stance on it has been pretty clear from the start,” said McIlroy. “It’s not something that I want to participate in. I certainly understand the guys that have went. I understand what their goals and their ambitions are in their life. I’m not, certainly not knocking anyone for going. It’s their life, it’s their decision, they can live it the way they want to.
“But for me I want to play on the PGA TOUR against the best players in the world. And I think for me, speaking to a few people yesterday and one of the comments was, anything, any decision that you make in your life that’s purely for money usually doesn’t end up going the right way.
“Obviously money is a deciding factor in a lot of things in this world, but if it’s purely for money it’s not, never seems to, you know, it never seems to go the way you want it to. And I’ve had that before a couple of times in my life and there’s other things that are a part of it too.
“But it’s a weird time in professional golf, and I said it a couple weeks ago, we’re just going to have to see how this season plays out and if any other guys decide to go another direction than the established tours, I guess, and see what the, I guess see what the consequences are.
“But I guess for me right now, I can only speak personally, it’s not something that I envision ever doing. I’m happy playing on the PGA TOUR and I have a nice schedule that I can pick for myself. I can spend a lot of time at home with my family if I want to, prioritize the majors, and yeah, there’s nothing about my schedule or my life or my earning or anything that I would change,” he added.
The RBC Canadian Open is one of the oldest tournaments on the PGA Tour and McIlroy admitted he couldn’t fathom why the LIV Golf organisers chose to host their first event in England on the same week, believing it will just confuse the general public in terms of knowing who is playing where and when.
“I maybe don’t understand why they chose this date, I understand why they chose the location. It’s sort of goading the PGA TOUR into allowing releases for that event. It’s not in the United States, it’s a conflicting event, but we get releases for conflicting events.
“There’s a lot of things that they have done that don’t make sense to me. So, no, I can’t, it’s very hard for me to put myself in their mind and think things through logically and get to the place where they have gotten to, I guess.
“So, no, yeah, again, for the game in general I think it’s just, it’s a shame that it’s going to fracture the game. I think if anything we need to make this — the professional game is the window shop into golf. If the general public are confused about who is playing where and what tournament’s on this week and who is, you know, oh, he plays there, okay, and he doesn’t get into these events. It just becomes so confusing.”
The four-time major champion won the 2019 RBC Canadian Open in Hamilton by seven strokes, the fourth time he had won by such a margin in his career. The Holywood native threatened a magical final round of 59 before settling for a 64 as he blitzed the field en route to victory.
That was when McIlroy was on song and since golf has returned after the Covid pandemic McIlroy has struggled for consistency falling from number one in the world to outside the top-10. The world number eight is yet to end his eight-year major drought ahead of next week’s US Open and he hopes he can recreate the feelings of his final round three years ago and in Augusta this year more often.
“I think if it was that easy I would do it more often, I guess. Sometimes you just find yourself in these, whether it be these mental states or this place where everything sort of matches up. The mental state, physically you’re in a good place, you’re swinging it well, having the confidence to play the shots and take the shots on.
“You’re always, I think, out on TOUR we’re never, I mean very, very rarely, maybe that day in Hamilton, maybe the last round at Augusta, that we’re operating on a hundred percent. There’s always 10 or 15 percent lacking in one area or another and you’re always having to fight against it and you’re always having to manage your game. Whether it be physically or mentally and trying to clear negative thoughts or whatever it may be.
“So the days that come along that you are operating at a hundred percent it’s nice and you have to take advantage of those. But I would say more often than not there’s, you know, you just have to make do with that 85 or 90 percent and get the most out of that,” he added.