Documents suggest Rory McIlroy made agreement with LIV Golf exec in late 2022!

Rory McIlroy is said to have met in person with LIV Golf mastermind Yasir Al-Rumayyan in late 2022. Here's what we know about what they discussed. 

Ben Smith's picture
Wed, 12 Jul 2023
Documents suggest Rory McIlroy made agreement with LIV Golf exec in late 2022!

Rory McIlroy's 'I still hate LIV Golf' comments came after he secretly met in person with the mastermind behind the breakaway tour where he told the Saudi governor the top players wouldn't play more than 26 events a year. 

The revelation that McIlroy met with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, who is understood to be the mastermind behind the breakaway tour, came when a trove of documents were released as part of the US Senate's probe into the 'framework agreement'. 

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This deal will see the PGA Tour, European DP World Tour and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF) align their commercial interests under the umbrella of a new, for-profit golf entity. 

Lawmakers grilled two PGA Tour officials about the new company - PGA Tour Enterprises - on 11 July and there were a number of revelations that included:

Among the 276 pages of documents that were released included details of McIlroy's in-person meeting with the aforementioned Al-Rumayyan

The meeting happened in late 2022 when McIlroy was in Dubai. Docs suggest the meeting was 'cordial and constructive'. 

It reads:

"His Excellency has great ambitions to support, grow and modernise the sport and is clearly well equipped to fund these goals. He has been frustrated by his inability to engage with the PGA. Rory made it clear that in accepting the meeting he was speaking only for himself although he believes his views are broadly shared by Tiger and the other top players - he also emphasises he was seeking no financial gain, he was simply trying to unify the game. 
"In our meeting Rory and His Excellency talked of the need for compromise to benefit all the game's stakeholders be they players, fans, broadcasters, sponsors or charities. His Excellency is especially conscious of the opportunities for innovation to ensure golf broadens its appeal to a younger and wider demographic, possibly involving team golf and female participants. We also spoke of specific opportunities such as a Fall "IPL" style team event culminating in a revived World Cup of Golf, as well as co-sanctioned PGA tournaments which would come together designated as an Aramco Series. There was an agreement by Rory and His Excellency that the leading players are unwilling to compete in more than 26 tournaments."

McIlroy's apparent cordial behaviour behind the scenes appears to be at odds with his public remarks. 

On 7 June, 24 hours after the bombshell framework agreement was announced, McIlroy dismissed LIV Golf. 

He insisted he 'still hated' the rival league and suggested there would be no imminent peace as players who bolted from the PGA Tour 'irreparably harmed' the circuit and would not be welcomed back easily. 

What McIlroy said about LIV Golf players returning to the PGA Tour:

"There still has to be consequences to actions. The people that left the PGA Tour irreparably harmed this tour, started litigation against it. We can’t just welcome them back in. That’s not going to happen. And I think that was the one thing that Jay [Monahan, the PGA Tour’s commissioner] was trying to get across yesterday is like, guys, we’re not just going to bring these guys back in and pretend like nothing’s happened. That is not going to happen."

What McIlroy said about hoping LIV Golf goes away:

"It's not LIV. That's the thing. I still hate LIV. Like, I hate LIV. I hope it goes away, and I would fully expect that it does. That's where the distinction here is. This is the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and the PIF. Very different from LIV."

McIlroy is in the field for the forthcoming Scottish Open so it's likely he will be tracked down and pressed further about his chat with Al-Rumayyan. 

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