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Making Sense of Rory McIlroy's Latest Comments

By: | Mon 08 Jan 2024

Rory McIlroy's recent comments about LIV Golf and the future of the game drew a variety of responses, including from Greg Norman and Phil Mickelson. For his latest View From The Fairway opinion article, Golfshake's Derek Clements shares his thoughts on the motivations of those involved and what it could all mean.

Oh Rory, why couldn’t you have just kept your thoughts to yourself?

You may have had the best of intentions when you opted to extend the olive branch to LIV Golf but you MUST have known that Greg Norman was going to use your words as an excuse to clamber on to his soapbox.

Having spent months bad-mouthing all things LIV, Rory McIlroy now tells the world that he may have misjudged them.

Sorry? How exactly? If the men who joined LIV were greedy and self-serving when they made the move, how can that possibly have changed?

Norman, who is surely the most divisive man in golf, couldn’t wait to have his say, suggesting that McIlroy has “fallen on his sword”. 

Does this man have no shame at all? Greg, what sword would McIlroy be falling on? He has done nothing wrong!

Norman is not a fan of the Northern Irishman because Rory has been so critical of LIV.

Norman said: “Maybe he has had a good conversation with Jon Rahm since he signed [for LIV]. I’m speculating. But for Rory to come and do this I appreciate it.

“It’s not easy for someone to be so negative and then all of a sudden to turn around and fall on their sword.”

The more I read those words, the angrier I become!

Norman believes the change of heart from one of LIV’s fiercest critics represents a pivotal moment in the war with the golf establishment.

“He did judge us by not knowing the facts. He judged us on other people’s thoughts and opinions,” Norman said on LIV’s Fairway to Heaven podcast. “So, from my perspective. I say, ‘hey, thank you Rory’. To me, this is a significant turning point for everybody.

“You go through these moments when you go through a disconnect. Time is the greatest healer.” 

Somebody pass me the sick bucket please. Not knowing the facts? The only fact we need to know if that LIV is a golf tour funded and promoted by Saudi Arabia and its oil money and that it is designed to make already-wealthy golfers even richer.

It seems that Jon Rahm’s defection has had some sort of seismic impact upon McIlroy’s ability to apply logical thought. Or perhaps he just had too much egg-nog over the Christmas period.

McIlroy said: "Jon has not got any of the heat that the first guys got for going.” 

Well Rory, that would be because you said that the rules would have to be rewritten for Rahm to be allowed to continue to play for Europe in the Ryder Cup.

Rory McIlroy

(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

December 31 was the deadline set by Jay Monahan to produce a framework that would bring peace to the world of professional golf. And of course the deadline was not met.

But barely a few hours later, there is Rory talking all sweetness and light about LIV, saying that he had been too judgemental. Does the timing not seem little odd to you?

I know that McIlroy’s relationship with Monahan is now pretty strained and that is why I choose not to listen to the voice in my head that tells me Rory is acting under orders and that he has been asked to hold out the hand of friendship.

And the thoughts in my head have not been helped by Phil Mickelson gushing about McIlroy’s U-turn. 

Mickelson said: “This quote and the many others made by Rory probably weren’t easy to say. Let’s not use this as an opportunity to pile on. Rather, it’s time for me and others to let go of our hostilities and work towards a positive future.

“Rahm’s signing is turning into a bridge to bring both sides together, as evidenced by the many comments about changing the rules for the Ryder Cup so Jon and others can play, so let’s use it as such. 

“Until an agreement is reached it will be business as usual for both sides but hopefully without the needless disdain.”

I remain at a loss to understand the empathy being shown towards Rahm. Let me make it quite clear - he is a golfer I love to watch in action. But he is also somebody who said he would never defect to LIV because what they do is not proper golf - his words, not mine.

Yes, he played a major role in helping Europe to win the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone but should the rules be rewritten to allow him to play for Europe next year? No, they should not. Well, not in my book at any rate. He has been suspended by the PGA Tour and that effectively makes him persona non grata.

I hate to sound like a stuck record but we simply cannot have two sets of rules based on the ability - or likability - of individuals.

I should be delighted that these people are starting to talk to one another again. Instead, I continue to feel nothing but utter despair.

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Tags: rory mcilroy PGA Tour LIV Golf Jon Rahm Greg Norman european tour dp world tour

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