Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm PRAISE LIV Golf after radical PGA Tour update

Rory McIlroy believes the emergence of LIV Golf has actually "benefited" professional golf. 

Andy Roberts's picture
Wed, 8 Mar 2023
Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm PRAISE LIV Golf after radical PGA Tour update

Rory McIlroy has raised eyebrows ahead of The Players Championship on the PGA Tour this week by claiming the "emergence of LIV Golf has benefited everyone that plays elite, professional golf."

McIlroy's comments come as something of a surprise given he has bashed LIV Golf at every opportunity since they introduced themselves to the world last summer. 

But fast forward to the present day, just a week after the PGA Tour announced similar no cut, limited-field tournaments to LIV Golf for 2024, and Rory McIlroy believes Greg Norman's controversial circuit has actually done plenty of good at Tour level. 

With eight Designated Events planned for next season, all with first prizes just shy of $4m among guaranteed money and points for those taking part, McIlroy even went as far to say the PGA Tour had been operating in an "antiquated system."

McIlroy said: 

"I'm not going to sit here and lie. I think the emergence of LIV, or the emergence of a competitor to the PGA Tour, has benefited everyone that plays elite, professional golf.
"I think when you've been the biggest golf league in the biggest market in the world for the last 60 years, there's not a lot of incentive to innovate.
"This has caused a ton of innovation at the PGA Tour, and what was quite, I would say, an antiquated system is being revamped to try to mirror where we're at in the world in the 21st century with the media landscape and just every -- you know, the PGA Tour isn't just competing with LIV Golf or other sports.
"It's competing with Instagram and TikTok and everything else that's trying to take eyeballs away from the PGA Tour as a product.
"So, yeah, you know, LIV coming along, it's definitely had a massive impact on the game, but I think everyone who's a professional golfer is going to benefit from it going forward."

World No.1 Jon Rahm also spoke in favour of LIV Golf when pressed on why the PGA Tour had felt a need to change its format. 

Rahm said:

"Oh, it's LIV Golf. I mean, without a doubt. Without LIV Golf, this wouldn't have happened.
"So, to an extent, like I've said before, we should be thankful this threat has made the PGA Tour want to change things.
"I think I said it last week, as well; I wish it didn't come to the PGA Tour being, you know, under fire from somebody else to make those changes and make things better for the players, but I guess it is what we needed.
"So, yeah, it is because of LIV Golf, otherwise we wouldn't have seen any of this."

Perhaps Rahm and McIlroy were two of the PGA Tour players to have actually "thanked" LIV Golf's Phil Mickelson?!

Lefty was famously quoted earlier this year saying that "a number of guys thank me profusely."

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan certainly wasn't in any mood to praise LIV Golf, though. 

He said the changes were solely down to his players and fans of the PGA Tour. 

Monahan said: 

"To me, the credit goes to all of our players out here and also goes to our fans.
"We've listened to our fans and we've responded and we're returning to our fans what they have told us that they wanted.
"So, that's really how we got to the amount of change that we've had over the last five or six years."

Monahan also spoke about whether or not they had copied LIV Golf with their Designated Events set for 2024.

He also revealed the "awkward" situation he has faced with having to ban LIV Golf's Cameron Smith from returning to defend The Players Championship this week. 

GolfMagic Readers have been voting about that particular decision in our latest Twitter Poll: