Rory McIlroy confirms big boy talks with LIV Golf and makes playing prediction

By | June 7, 2024

Rory McIlroy confirms big boy talks with LIV Golf and makes playing prediction

Rory McIlroy described a future in which LIV Golf and the PGA Tour can co-operate ahead of a meeting between the latter and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund

Ahead of the first in-person meeting between the PGA Tour’s transaction committee and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) – the backers of LIV Golf – Rory McIlroy offered a telling prediction for what men’s professional golf could look like in several years.

The recently formed transaction committee – which features McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, player liaison Joe Ogilvie, Fenway Sports Chair John Henry and PGA Tour Enterprises Chair Joe Gorder – has met with PIF representatives three times a week over the last month. Though McIlroy flirted with the idea of flying to New York after the second round of the Memorial Tournament to attend a meeting in person on Friday, he will tune in remotely instead.

No matter how the conversation plays out, McIlroy insisted that LIV Golf will continue to operate for years to come. But the 35-year-old floated a possible future in which the Saudi-backed league and PGA Tour could cooperate.

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“I certainly don’t see in the next couple of years LIV slowing down,” McIlroy said, per Sports Illustrated. “They’re buying office space in New York. They have over 200 employees. I don’t see a world where – and I haven’t heard any of those guys say that they don’t want to play over there either, right? You’ve got guys who are on contracts until 2028, 2029.

“Looking a few years down the line, LIV is going to continue to sort of keep going down its path. But hopefully with maybe more of a collaboration or an understanding between the tours. Maybe there is some cross-pollenation there where players can start to play on both. I guess that will all be talked about in the coming weeks.”

As for his role in Friday’s meeting, McIlroy asserted that he would be taking a back seat to those who were better suited to handle the “big boy stuff”.

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“There’s going to be people in that room on the PGA Tour side who are going to take the lead,” he continued. “And it’s not going to be Adam, Tiger or I. That’s going to be Jay, Joe Gorder, Joe Ogilvie, John Henry. It’s going to be the business guys. We’re there to maybe give a perspective from a player’s point of view.

“This is a negotiation about an investment in the PGA Tour Enterprises, this is big boy stuff. And I’ll certainly be doing more listening than I will be doing talking.”

McIlroy’s comments come exactly one year after the PGA Tour and PIF reached a framework agreement, seemingly marking the reunification of men’s golf. But 12 months later, negotiations between the two sides have come to a crawl with no end in sight.

Despite initially being strongly against those who defected to LIV Golf, McIlroy conceded that he’s since had a change of heart. “My stance on some of the LIV stuff has softened,” he said. “They’re contracted to play 14 events, but the other 38 weeks of the year you’re free to do what you want.

“The only thing is there are so many tours and so many golf tournaments. There are only a certain amount of weeks in the year. That’s the complicated part. Trying to figure out which tournaments go where, when do we play them, how many players, what players.”

 

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