Watch Rory McIlroy explain how LIV Golf 'exploited a weakness' in PGA Tour

Rory McIlroy has conceded the LIV Golf League has 'exploited a weakness' in the PGA Tour but insisted the proposed changes are meritocratic.

Ben Smith's picture
Thu, 2 Mar 2023
Watch Rory McIlroy explain how LIV Golf 'exploited a weakness' in PGA Tour

Rory McIlroy has conceded the LIV Golf League 'exploited a weakness' after huge changes were proposed to the 2024 PGA Tour season. 

News filtered through earlier in the week that many of the PGA Tour's elevated events next year will feature fields of 70-78 players with no cut.

This was then confirmed via a memo sent by PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan to players on 1 March. 

Related: LIV pros blast PGA Tour changes

McIlroy later faced the media before the Arnold Palmer Invitational and outlined why he believes the changes are positive

LIV Golf players are absolutely livid and have accused the PGA Tour of copying their homework. 

Smaller fields and no cut events were just two aspects LIV Golf supremo Greg Norman has been in favour of for decades. 

McIlroy told Golf Channel

"The reason we’re making these changes is because, like it or not, LIV have exploited maybe some weaknesses of what the PGA Tour framework was and we’re trying to do things to rectify that."

One criticism to the changes is some believe the designated events will eventually result in the PGA Tour becoming a closed shop. 

It's the same accusation that has been levelled at LIV Golf. 

McIlroy insisted that the changes are built on meritocracy and there are ways the 'rank-and-file' pros can play their way in. 

He added: 

"When the structure is properly explained to everyone, because I think everyone is acting off limited information, once it’s explained people will see that this is built on meritocracy and guys having hope that they can play their way in to these designated events. 
"That they don’t have to wait a year for example to have a good season and then get in – you have really good play and it gets you in right away.
"And the churn as well, if you don’t play well enough in these designated events you’re not in them the next year, there is a churn to this. To have more of that meritocracy feeling, to have that churn at the bottom that if you don’t perform you’re out, that’s a really important part of this."

"I'm not one to award mediocrity"

Critics have also stated the lack of a cut removes the competitive element. 

England's Eddie Pepperell went on an incredible rant about this, then explained why cuts are so crucial to the game:

As for McIlroy, he said: 

"The no-cut thing just became a big deal when LIV came along, that’s what prompted the whole discussion about it. It guarantees the top players are around for all four days.
"I'm certainly not one to reward mediocrity. This is the most aspirational tour to play in the world and we have to keep it that way. It has to be the toughest challenge for the best players in the world and that's the kind of tour we're trying to create.
"It's not a hand out for guys that don't want to try anymore, this is making the tour more competitive - the no-cut aspect is more for the commercial viability for it and making sure your top guys are there to be seen for all four days."

Watch McIlroy's interview here:

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Next page: LIV accused of telling porkies in court