Northern Ireland golf star Rory McIlroy, who currently plays on both the European and PGA Tours, believes that all parties must come together as the LIV Golf fallout rumbles on. LIV Golf, which is Saudi-financed, have made significant moves, much to the dismay of the likes of the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, creating divides within the sport.
Many of golf’s leading stars, including Dustin Johnson, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Phil Mickelson, have defected to the LIV Golf series because of the huge amount of cash up for grabs. But, in retaliation, US and European tours have moved to issue fines and suspensions. This has led to splits within golf occurring, fallouts between players and legal action being taken by multiple parties as a resolution continue to be sought.
McIlroy, a four-time major winner, is a player who has been quick to comment on the current situation and about the breakaway movement that has caused issues since the inception of LIV Golf. However, instead of remaining just an outspoken critic, the Northern Irishman suggests that it’s time for everyone to come together to find common ground for the good of the sport.
McIlroy, adamant that he won’t be joining the LIV Golf Tour anytime soon, claims that steps were missed along the way that wouldn’t have made it as messy. And it’s difficult to argue against this point of view, as many golfers have upped sticks and left their current tours for a new one without warning. If steps were taken, it could have led to amicable talks where concerns and deals could be thrashed out for the greater good, something everyone would likely have been on board with at the time.
The main concern surrounding the LIV Golf series is that Saudi Arabia is bankrolling it via the Public Investment Fund (PIF), similarly to Newcastle United, who play in the Premier League. And there are plenty in opposition because of the human rights situation in Saudi and their keenness to improve the country's reputation by "sports washing," which is a significant sticking point.
McIlroy has spoken about Saudi Arabia getting involved with golf and sport. He said, “There’s so much chat about where the money is coming from. They sponsor so many other things. They are all over sport.
McIlroy added, “I understand people’s reservations with things, but at the same time, if these people are serious about investing billions of dollars into golf, I think ultimately that’s a good thing, but it has to be done in the right way.”
With everyone at loggerheads, it’s unlikely that peace talks will happen or, if they do, reach an amicable conclusion. But, one thing is for sure, golf cannot carry on how it is, with divisions between tours, players and legal battles aplenty. If high-profile players such as McIlroy consistently speak up, however, positive change could arrive, but only time will tell.