‘Golf is ripping itself apart right now’: Rory McIlroy open to PGA Tour-LIV Golf truce

‘Golf is ripping itself apart right now’: Rory McIlroy open to PGA Tour-LIV Golf truce
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Rory McIlroy is again speaking out on the rift consuming professional golf. 

On Wednesday, ahead of the DP World Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship at St. Andrews, McIlroy, the world No. 2, said that the PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit should form a truce.  

“I’ve always said I think there is a time and a place where everyone that’s involved here should sit down and try to work together,” McIlroy said. “It’s very hard for that to happen right now when there’s two lawsuits going on.”

In August, 11 LIV players, including Phil Mickelson, filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour in U.S. District Court Northern District of California claiming, among other things, the circuit has abused its monopolistic power with anti-competitive practices. However, the lawsuit is now down to four plaintiffs — Matt Jones, Bryson DeChambeau, Peter Uihlein and LIV Golf. 

Meanwhile, another lawsuit has allowed LIV players to play on the DP World Tour until a ruling is expected in February.

Full-field scores from the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

As time goes on, McIlroy, who has repeatedly been one of the PGA Tour’s biggest defenders, believes that an agreement between the two sides is more likely. 

“I think, as well, there’s a natural timeline here to let temperatures just sort of settle down a little bit and people can maybe go into those mediations with cooler heads and not be so emotional about it all,” he said.”

However, as time passes, LIV defectors will drop in the world rankings as the tour does not receive world ranking points, though, the circuit recently applied for such designation. Last week, all 48 LIV players signed a sent letter to Peter Dawson, who is the chairman of the OWGR, seeking such designation.

McIlroy is open to LIV players receiving world-ranking points, but notes that LIV right now doesn’t meet the standard to do so. 

“I certainly would want the best players in the world ranked accordingly,” he said. “I think Dustin Johnson is somewhere around 100th in the world. It’s not an accurate reflection of where he is in the game. But at the same time, you can’t make up your own rules. There’s criteria there and everyone knows what they are. If they want to pivot to meet the criteria, they can, and then all of a sudden — I certainly have no problem with them getting world ranking points, at all. But you just have to meet the criteria, and if you don’t meet the criteria, it’s going to be hard to justify why you should have them.”

LIV seeking Official World Golf Ranking points

Last week ahead of the Presidents Cup, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, who is on the OWGR board, said that a Tour-LIV truce is “off the table, and it has been for a long period of time.”

Though Monahan and McIlroy are on the same side of the aisle amid the sport’s division, the 33-year-old Northern Irishman believes that the current fragment in professional golf isn’t benefitting anyone. 

“I don’t want a fractured game,” McIlroy said. “I never have. You look at some other sports and what’s happened and the game of golf is ripping itself apart right now and that’s no good for anyone. It’s no good for the guys on this side or the sort of traditional system and it’s no good for the guys on the other side, either. It’s no good for anyone. There is a time and a place for it. I just think right now, with where everything is, it’s probably not the right time.

“But saying that, I don’t think we can let it go too much longer. So I’m all for everyone sitting around the table and trying to figure something out for sure.” 

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