The rise of LIV Golf has forced golfers to draw battle lines, the impact of which is already being felt.
Speaking to reporters ahead of the BMW PGA Championship, Rory McIlroy explained he had "no idea" whether he can enjoy the same kind of kinship with some of his former Ryder Cup teammates who have signed with LIV.
"I wouldn’t say I’ve got much of a relationship with them at the minute," he said. "... But, like, I haven’t done anything different. They are the ones that have made that decision. So I can sit here and keep my head held high and say I haven’t done anything differently."
In a lighter exchange, the four-time major champion alluded to the three-round format for LIV tournaments:
Rex Hoggard @RexHoggardGC
Rory 😃.<br>Q. If come Sunday you find yourself in contention and the man to the side of you is a LIV player, would there be more incentive to win?<br>RM: I mean, I'll be trying to win a golf tournament regardless. They are going to be pretty tired on Sunday; it will be the fourth day.
McIlroy has made his allegiance very clear. Not only has he remained with the PGA Tour, but he's also partnering with Tiger Woods for TGL, a new team-based league that will operate in tandem with the tour.
Given the existential threat LIV Golf poses for the PGA Tour, one can understand why McIlroy might still hold some hostility toward his former colleagues. He may not be the only one, though.
Shane Lowry echoed a similar sentiment toward LIV-aligned stars.
"Obviously I haven’t seen them in a long time now," he said. "Don’t hang out with them anymore. Probably won’t be going out for dinner because we haven’t seen each other. But yeah, there are certain lads that I shake hands with and certain hands I wouldn’t."
It will certainly be fascinating to see how this dynamic unfolds at the next Ryder Cup, which tees off in just over one year near Rome.
The United States enters the 2023 Ryder Cup as the defending champion, but Team Europe dominated the event before that with seven wins in the previous nine installments.
The narrative often centered on how the Europeans were far more focused on a collective goal than their American counterparts. The U.S. had no shortage of individual star power but couldn't excel as a team.
This time next year, Team Europe might have to deal with the kind of internal drama that was mostly associated with its Ryder Cup opponent.