Rory McIlroy admits the merger between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV will be good for the game of golf but while he knew discussions were ongoing he was also left in the dark regarding the sensational decision.
As chairman of the Player Advisory Committee, McIlroy has become the spokesperson for the PGA Tour in the face of the LIV Golf disruption over the last twelve months, fiercely defending the now beleaguered PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan.
The four-time major champion is one of many high-profile players to remain loyal to the PGA Tour and reject the Saudi millions but now he feels the decision for all three main tours to join forces will be good for the game going forward and can help repair the fractures that have been created.
“I think, ultimately, when I try to remove myself from the situation and look at the bigger picture and 10 years down the line, I think this is going to be good for the game of professional golf,” said McIlroy ahead of his title defence at the now secondary RBC Canadian Open.
“It unifies it and it secures its financial future. There’s mixed emotions in there as well, as there is going to be. I don’t understand all of the intricacies of what is going on. There’s a lot of ambiguity and a lot of things still to be thrashed out.
“At least it means that the litigation goes away, which has been a massive burden for everyone involved with the tour and playing on the tour. We can start to work towards some sort of way of unifying the game at the elite level.”
McIlroy was front and centre at a players meeting on Tuesday night in Toronto where things got heated with almost the entire room calling for Monahan to resign. Players found out via social media or the press release sent by the PGA Tour and DP World Tour and the Holywood man was no exception.
“I got a text message on Monday night from Jimmy Dunne, saying ‘can I give you a call in the morning’. Jimmy called me at 6.30am yesterday morning, took me through the news, the deal, the structure of the deal – what it meant for us, the DP World Tour.
“I learned about it pretty much at the same time everyone else did. It was a surprise. I knew there had been discussions going on in the background. I knew lines of communication had been opened up. I obviously didn’t expect it to happen as quickly as it did.”
McIlroy admitted he feels like a ‘sacrificial lamb’ having remained loyal to the PGA Tour rather than jump ship to a rival only for the PGA Tour to get into bed with a rival. He also moved to dispel the news that LIV were part of the merger stating that the Public Investment Fund are partnering to set up a new company with Monahan sitting as CEO meaning the PGA Tour controls the money.
“I think the one thing that I think was really misconstrued yesterday was all of the headlines were ‘PGA Tour merges with LIV’.
“LIV has nothing to do with this. It’s the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and the Public Investment Fund who are basically partnering to create a new company. I still hate LIV. I hate them. I hope it goes away and expect that it does.”
“I think that’s where I was a little frustrated. Because all I’ve wanted to do and all I’ve wanted in the past year is to protect the future of the PGA Tour and protect the aspirational nature of what the PGA Tour stands for. And I hope that this does that.
“This this new company sits above everything and Jay Monahan is the CEO of that, so technically, anyone that is involved with LIV would answer to Jay.
“And one thing as well is, whether you like it or not the PIF are going to keep spending money in golf… at least the PGA Tour now controls how that money is spent.
“One of the biggest sovereign wealth funds in the world, would you rather have them as a partner or an enemy? At the end of the day, money talks and you’d rather have them as a partner.”