McIlroy: I regret judging LIV Golf, it exposed flaws in PGA

May 23, 2024

Rory McIlroy has said he regrets judging former colleagues who made the switch from the PGA and DP World tours to LIV Golf. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy has said he regrets judging former colleagues who made the switch from the PGA and DP World tours to LIV Golf.

The Northern Irishman has been a staunch critic of the breakaway league, backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, since its inception in 2022.

But McIlroy’s PGA and European tours could soon have a closer relationship with LIV Golf than ever before with discussions continuing over a major merger in the sport.

However, it was hoped that discussions would be completed by the end of 2023 and that deadline has past.

LIV regrets

“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 Wood’s position,” McIlroy told the Stick to Football podcast, sponsored by Sky Bet.

“We all turn professionals to making 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, so if I regret anything, it was probably being too judgmental at the start.”

And McIlroy, who has four majors to his name, has also admitted that the LIV Golf tour, which returns in Mexico next month, did expose issues with the leading PGA Tour.

Flawed system

“I think what LIV has done, it’s exposed the flaws in the system of what golf has, because we’re all supposed to be independent contractors and we can pick and choose what tournaments we want to play,” he said.

“But I think what LIV and the Saudi’s have exposed is that if you’re going on a tour and you’re asking sponsors for millions of dollars to sponsor these events, and you’re not able to guarantee to the sponsors that the players are going to show up.

“I can’t believe the PGA tour has done so well for so long. It’s exposed some flaws in the system that hopefully golf will have a look at more. If we’re going to ask these people for so much money, we need to be able to guarantee them what they’re getting.

“Part of the stuff that we’ve been trying to do for the last two years is figure out how we can try and bring golf back together again and learn from some of the things that have happened.

“I feel like there was a way to do it where it wasn’t going to be a massive disruptor [LIV] to the game, and that’s another thing for me, it’s created a massive upheaval in professional golf which is sad to see.

“Some people have taken one side and some people have taken another, and golf is a small enough sport, it’s not like football where you’ve got billions of fans, so if you start dividing the eyeballs in professional golf, it’s not good for anyone.”