Rory McIlroy on PIF merger: "I hate LIV, I hope it goes away"

Rory McIlroy rips into LIV Golf but admits he's looking forward to the PGA Tour partnering with the Saudi PIF.

Lara Kuipers's picture
Wed, 7 Jun 2023
Rory McIlroy on PIF merger: "I hate LIV, I hope it goes away"

Rory McIlroy says he still hates LIV Golf but admitted that Tuesday's bombshell merger news could ultimately be "good for the game of professional golf."

Twenty-four hours ago, the golf world changed dramatically as the PGA Tour announced an agreement with the DP World Tour and the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) - which provides the financial backing for LIV Golf.

NEW: McIlroy says he was offered nothing to join LIV Golf

Many questions still loom about this new agreement, which was done, per the joint statement released Tuesday, to "unify the game of golf, on a global basis."

The agreement will combine the PIF's golf-related commercial businesses and rights - which includes LIV Golf - with the commercial businesses and rights of both the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour.

This will then create a "collectively owned, for-profit entity to ensure that all stakeholders benefit from a model that delivers maximum excitement and competition among the game’s best players," according to the statement.

The news came as a shock to many, as much of the past year and a half, the PGA Tour commissioner, Jay Monahan, was adamantly against LIV Golf and what it stood for, suspending players who took part in the rival circuit.

At the same time, McIlroy, 34, became the unofficial spokesperson for the PGA Tour as it became clear he was anti-LIV Golf as well.

On Wednesday, ahead of the RBC Canadian Open where McIlroy is set to both defend his 2022 title and aim for a three-peat, the Northern Irishman spoke to the media.

He told reporters that he had only learned of the news early on Tuesday morning, not long before it became public.

"I learned about it pretty much at the same time everyone else did. And, yeah, it was a surprise," McIlroy said. "I knew there had been discussions going on in the background. I knew that lines of communication had been opened up. I obviously didn't expect it to happen as quickly as it did."

He added:

"I think ultimately, when I try to remove myself from the situation and I look at the bigger picture and I look at 10 years down the line, I think ultimately this is going to be, it's going to be good for the game of professional golf. I think it secures the -- it unifies it and it secures its financial future."

The four-time major winner also made it clear that he is still anti-LIV Golf:

"I still hate LIV. Like, I hate LIV. Like, I hope it goes away. And I would fully expect that it does. And I think that's where the distinction here is. This is the PGA TOUR, the DP World Tour and the PIF. Very different from LIV."

As McIlroy pointed out, the PGA Tour are not merging with LIV Golf, but instead have a new agreement with the Saudi PIF, who finance LIV Golf.

"I mean, if you look at the structure of how it's structured now, this new company sits above everything. Jay's the CEO of that. So technically anyone that is involved with LIV now would answer to Jay. So the PGA TOUR have control of everything," McIlroy said.

There's still much unknown about the new agreement, and what this means for both LIV Golf and PGA Tour players.

McIlroy admitted that Tuesday was "tough" in terms of the news being a distraction as he seeks his 24th PGA Tour win.

"I think the shock of it, the surprise of it. I wasn't looking forward to this, to be honest with you," McIlroy said. "But once we all get done here and you write your stories and say what you say what I say or quote me or whatever it is, I'm going to go to the range and do some practice and try to get ready for a golf tournament."

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