Former world number one, Rory McIlroy, has announced that he would rather retire from golf as a whole than join the LIV Golf Invitational. The Northern Irishman made this known as he shut down talks that he and veteran Tiger Woods could own LIV Golf teams or even participate in the league events.
Speaking after the first round of the ongoing Genesis Scottish Open, he said: “If LIV Golf was the last place to play golf on earth, I would retire. That’s how I feel about it.”
In recent times, particularly after the merger involving the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) was announced, McIlroy has toned down his advocacy and support for the PGA Tour. Last year, McIlroy was very outspoken about his faith and support for the Tour and even reportedly refused a lump sum to join the Saudi-backed league.
He said, “There’s quite a bit of apathy towards everything at the moment. There wasn’t a lot of new information there for me, there maybe was for other people, but as I said, I’ve almost been too close to it over the last year and a bit, so it’s nice to be able to try to distance myself a bit from it.”
Continuing, he said: “I think I’m apathetic to all the noise around it, and as long as the tournaments that I play keep on existing, I’ll be very happy to play them and be a professional golfer and try to get a little bit closer every day to trying to master my craft.”
He also pointed out that in the past, he had tried to be a voice for players who did not have one, but now it feels like every player has the chance to get what they want for themselves. For the 34-year-old, he is more interested in playing the game just the way he has known it for over a decade now.
On the question of if the PGA had failed to any form of loyalty to him as he had shown to them, McIlory replied: “I don’t know about that. I think they were trying to do what was right for the Tour, which in turn means what’s right for the players on that Tour.”
No doubt, McIlroy is feeling a bit let down over the events of the past few weeks. The trouble is not the merger itself but the manner in which it happened, where he was allegedly left in the dark by the PGA until it was announced to the whole world. But this is just how he feels now. In the coming weeks, a few things could transpire that would make him feel his loyalty has been rewarded or not. But whatever happens, it is clear that McIlroy simply just wants to play golf.