Rory McIlroy admits that the prospect of teeing up in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth alongside 18 LIV Golf defectors in a fortnight’s time doesn’t sit right with him.
The Holywood star was speaking after landing the $18 million FedExCup bonus after beating world number one, Scottie Scheffler down the stretch at East Lake.
McIlroy has one week off to celebrate his third FedExCup triumph before returning to the DP World Tour for its Wentworth showpiece from September 8-11 where 18 LIV golfers, including the likes of Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter, will also be competing.
McIlroy has been outspoken on the subject of LIV from the outset but when asked if his leadership role has ever weighed heavily on his head, McIlroy insisted it hasn’t as he continues to stand up for what he believes in on behalf of the PGA Tour.
“I don’t think so because if you believe in something, I think you have to speak up, and I believe very strongly about this. I really do,” he said.
“I hate what it’s doing to the game of golf. I hate it. I really do. Like it’s going to be hard for me to stomach going to Wentworth in a couple of weeks’ time and seeing 18 of them there. That just doesn’t sit right with me.
“So yeah, I feel strongly. I believe what I’m saying are the right things, and I think when you believe that what you’re saying is the right things, you’re happy to stick your neck out on the line.”
McIlroy let his clubs do the talking in the Tour Championship finale, running down the best player in the world and overturning a six-shot deficit en route to a satisfying win. It was Scheffler who got the better of the duel the last time the pair faced off against each other in Georgia at the Masters, and while McIlroy would no doubt swap his $18m for Scottie’s green jacket, the Northern Irishman felt the key to his successful Sunday chase was having his eyes on a different prize to his rivals.
“I think out of anyone in the field, I care the least about the money,” McIlroy said. “That’s probably it.”
With three wins on the PGA Tour this season, 10 top-10 finishes, including at all four Majors, and $26m in the bank, McIlroy has a lot to celebrate before returning to Europe for a crack at the Race to Dubai, a race he currently leads. And what better man to have around than Shane Lowry to help get the party started in the meantime?
“I had a conversation with Shane Lowry yesterday. It’s Poppy’s birthday on Wednesday and his kids are going to come around our house for Poppy’s birthday,” McIlroy said.
“He said, ‘I’ll see you next week and we can celebrate with the FedExCup’. I was like, ‘yeah, whatever’. I was eight back at the time. I was like, ‘yeah, I’ll just see you next week’.
“Lo and behold, we might find a few really nice bottles of red wine tomorrow night in my wine cellar and open them up and have a good time.
“He’ll lead me in the right direction.”