Rory McIlroy once again questioned the sporting validity of the Rebels Golf Leaf Seriestwo days after taking a swipe at Greg Norman in the wake of his victory at the Canadian Open.
The first event of the LIV scheme, which is financially backed by Saudi Arabia and spearheaded by Norman, was held last week in Hertfordshire. The reinforcements for US Open, which begins in Brookline Thursday, has been dominated by chatter about this big disruption plan. McIlroy remains a strong advocate for the current ecosystem.
“It’s the cloud hanging over the golf game at this moment, isn’t it?” He said. “We’re in a major tournament and that’s what everyone wants to talk about so it’s on everyone’s minds.
“Those Sunday crowds in Canada, LIV will never have that. It wouldn’t have that feeling, I don’t know what the word is… but last week About Me Something. What they’re doing there doesn’t really mean anything apart from just making a lot of money.”
McIlroy later referred to “competitive integrity” in an interview with Justin Thomas and Tony Finau in Toronto. McIlroy was careful not to criticize his fellow professionals, including Phil Mickelson, who was banned by the PGA Tour after accepting the lucrative LIV Overtures but remains unaffected by their selection. ‘My father said to me a long time ago, ‘As soon as you make your bed, you lie in it,’ said McIlroy, ‘and they made their bed.’ “That’s their decision, and they have to live with that.”
Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau pledge allegiance to PGA Tour Early this year before performing a full course and signing on to LIV. McIlroy claimed that the breakaway appeared “dead in the water” at the point of the original position. “I took a lot of the players’ statements at face value,” he said. “I think this is the mistake I made.
“You had people committed to the PGA Tour, and that’s the data that came up. People came back to that, so I think I treated them as face value. I got their word and I was wrong.”
McIlroy’s expansive approach was in contrast to that of Brooks Kopka. A two-time US Open winner, and his brother Chase who is part of the LIV squad, was squeamish when asked if there was a enough number to convince him towards LIV.
“I didn’t think about it much,” Koepka said. “I’m trying to focus on the US Open. I’m legit I don’t understand. I’m tired of conversations. I’m tired of all this stuff.
“You’re throwing a black cloud at the US Open. I think that’s bad. I actually feel bad for them. [the United States Golf Association] For once because it’s a bad situation. We’re here to play, and you’re talking about an event that happened last week.”
In a letter sent to members, DP World Tour CEO Keith Bailey promised to designate an official position next Thursday in connection with LIV’s participation. Bailey said: “During discussions last week, and through additional private correspondence, some members have asked me why we simply not follow what the PGA Tour has done and immediately suspend these players.
“While I understand the frustration, I remind you all that although we work closely with the PGA Tour, we are different organizations and therefore our rules and regulations are also different.
“Through many of your messages and conversations, I know that many of you share the same view that Jay Monahan expressed in his memo to members of the PGA Tour, that the players who chose this path did not respect the vast majority of the members of this Tour.
“In terms of what we will do, given the complexity of our situation, we are still establishing a comprehensive course of action.”