Rory McIlroy Says It Would Be Better for Golf If British Open Winner Isn't from LIV

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 12, 2022

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Count Rory McIlroy among those who are rooting against players from LIV Golf in this week's Open Championship in St Andrews, Scotland.

According to ESPN's Tom Hamilton, when asked Tuesday if he is hopeful the winner of the Open Championship is from a tour other than LIV Golf, McIlroy said:

"Selfishly, for me, yes. But at the end of the day, everyone that's here has the same opportunity to go out there and try to win a Claret Jug, regardless of what tour they play on or whatever that is. Whoever wins here at the end of the week should be commended for one of the greatest achievements this game has to offer."

McIlroy has remained loyal to the PGA Tour amid the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf poaching many top golfers, including Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed.

While LIV Golf players have been suspended from the PGA Tour and banned from playing in PGA Tour events, they have been permitted to play in majors, and several will be in the Open Championship field.

Perhaps no PGA Tour golfer has been more outspoken about LIV Golf than McIlroy, as the Northern Irishman has regularly pledged his allegiance to the PGA Tour and knocked the competition.

McIlroy had some pointed words regarding LIV Golf in an interview with Kyle Porter of CBS Sports last week, saying there is "no room in the golf world for LIV Golf," before adding: "If LIV went away tomorrow, I'd be super happy."

The four-time major champion has also been critical of those who initially said they would stay with the PGA Tour before flipping to LIV Golf, saying: "I'm surprised at a lot of these guys because they say one thing and do another. I don't understand that. I don't know if that's for legal reasons, I have no idea. It's pretty duplicitous on their part to say one thing and then do another thing."

McIlroy is among the highest-profile golfers to make it clear they have no intention of going to LIV Golf, along with Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas and others.

Meanwhile, other notable golfers have been lured away from the PGA Tour with promises of large signing bonuses, bigger purses and shorter tournaments that are held less frequently. LIV Golf tourneys are 54 holes rather than the traditional 72.

Playing for LIV Golf has been considered a moral issue for some, though, as it is backed by a country with a lengthy history of human rights violations.

Saudi Arabia has been accused of "sportswashing," which is the act of a country attaching itself to high-profile sports or sporting events in order to paint itself in a better light.

Greg Norman, who is a two-time Open Championship winner and the CEO of LIV Golf, was not invited to the Open Championship festivities this week, which is uncommon for a former champion.

McIlroy backed the R&A's decision on that front, saying: "I supported that decision, and I think right now, because of everything that's happening in the golf world, I think it was the right decision to be made. But if things change in the future—or whatever happens, who knows—but I could see a day where he's certainly welcome back."

Entering the Open Championship, McIlroy is considered one of the top contenders, as he has played quite well this year, winning the Canadian Open last month and finishing second in the Masters, eighth in the PGA Championship and tied for fifth in the U.S. Open.

McIlroy hasn't won a major title since 2014, but he won the Open Championship that year and has come close to adding to his major title haul many times over the past several years.

Much to McIlroy's chagrin, LIV Golf will enter many legitimate contenders into the Open Championship field as well, meaning it is a distinct possibility that one of them will hoist the Claret Jug.


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