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Will Rory McIlroy Join LIV Golf - We Now Have a Confirmed Answer

By: | Fri 08 Mar 2024

Following the emergence of LIV Golf and the subsequent split in men's professional golf, Rory McIlroy had been the PGA Tour's staunchest advocate, with the Northern Irishman regularly speaking publicly against the Saudi-backed circuit and what he believed it represented.

His outspokenness drew both admirers and critics, but things began to change last June when the bombshell news landed that Jay Monahan and his fellow chiefs at Ponte Vedra Beach were speaking to the Public Investment Fund on a way forward to unite the game. 

McIlroy, like most of us, was blindsided by this revelation, something that was interpreted as a betrayal of sorts given just how strongly the four-time major champion had been backing the bosses at the PGA Tour.

Since then, his remarks on LIV have begun to soften, especially after reigning Masters champion Jon Rahm made the leap across in December - itself a move that served as a shocking twist in this lengthy saga.

Reacting to that switch from the Spaniard - who himself had previously been critical of LIV - McIlroy said on Sky Sports: "The thing I realised is you can't judge someone for making a decision that they feel is the best thing for them. Is it disappointing for me? Yes. But the landscape of golf changed on June 6, whenever the framework agreement was announced. I think because of that it made the jump from PGA Tour to LIV a little bit easier for guys. They let the first guys take the heat. This framework agreement legitimatised basically what LIV was trying to do."

Having previously said that he "hated" LIV and "would retire" if that series was the only tour available to him, McIlroy's remarks on the Stick to Football podcast also drew attention. 

"I think, at this point, I was maybe a little judgmental of the guys who went to LIV Golf at the start, and I think it was a bit of a mistake on my part because I now realise that not everyone is in my position or in Tiger Woods' position.

"We all turn professional to make a living playing the sports that we do, and I think that’s what I realised over the last two years. I can’t judge people for making that decision."

Rory McIlroy

(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

Some have speculated that McIlroy could himself emulate Rahm by stunning the golf world and making a jump that was once considered improbable. 

Chubby Chandler, McIlroy's former agent, added fuel to the flames in February when he said to Bunkered: "If you were being cynical, you might say he’s going to sign for about £750million in a month’s time with LIV because he’s paving the way that LIV’s okay now, whereas it wasn’t. 

"Who knows? He doesn’t need £750m but it’s odd what he’s done and I’m sure it’s a possibility. If he does it or not, I don’t know, but if Rahm can do it, most guys can do it."

Responding to that ahead of last week's Cognizant Classic at PGA National, McIlroy was in a coy mood when he said, wrily: "Somewhere in the middle maybe. Who knows?," he commented when asked what were the odds of him joining LIV.

"I think he’s writing a book, so there is that. I spoke to Chubby, I might have seen him in the Middle East at the start of the year. Never know. He might know a few things. Who knows?"

Who knows, indeed. But now we do know - as McIlroy has finally shut down the growing rumours for good in an interview with ESPN.

"It’s not for me. I’m too much of a traditionalist. I’m steeped in the… I love winning golf tournaments and looking at the trophy and seeing Sam Snead won this trophy, or Ben Hogan or Gene Sarazen or Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods or Nick Faldo - whoever it is - the people that came before me. That, to me, is a big deal in our game.

"If we were to all put our heads together and be like ‘okay, what can we do to all come back together and move forward and be a little bit more cohesive’, then I’d be for that."

Like many golf fans and observers, McIlroy wants to see greater togetherness in the game and the world's best competing against each other more frequently, but the LIV concept, specifically, is something that he won't be part of.

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

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