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Rory McIlroy has been the most outspoken PGA Tour golfer to take swings at LIV Golf and those who decided to participate in the Saudi-backed league’s first tournament last week.
On Tuesday, days after his latest victory at the RBC Canadian Open, McIlroy was on the offensive again, saying he had an issue with players bolting for LIV Golf after putting out statements claiming they would stay on the PGA Tour.
“I guess I took a lot of players’ statements at face value. I guess that’s what I got wrong,” McIlroy said ahead of the first round of the U.S. Open, via The Independent. “You had people committed to the PGA Tour, and that’s what the statements were that were put out. People went back on that.
“It’s disappointing. The players that are staying on the PGA Tour feel slighted in some way. If those guys thought outside of themselves, they would see this is not the best for everyone.
“My dad said to me a long time ago, once you make your bed, you lie in it, and they’ve made their bed. That’s their decision, and they have to live with that.”
Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson were among the golfers who jumped to LIV Golf after saying they would stick with the PGA Tour.
When asked about Phil Mickelson, McIroy said he still had respect for “Lefty” as a golfer.
“He won a major championship 13 months ago, probably one of the crowning achievements of his career and one of the most impressive achievements in the history of the game of golf. As a golfer, I have the utmost respect for Phil,” he said.
“I’ve been disappointed with how he has went about what he has done, but I think he has come back and shown some remorse about how he has handled some things, so I think he has learned from that.”
McIlroy made waves Sunday and Monday when he took swipes at LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman. He admitted he was being “petty” but added he would hate to see the time, work and effort created to make the PGA Tour what it is turn out to be nothing in the end.
“Legacy, reputation… at the end of the day that’s all you have. You strip everything away, and you’re left with how you made people feel and what people thought of you. That is important to me,” he added.
“The crowds in Canada, LIV is never going to have that, the sense that it means something. What they are doing over there does not mean anything, apart from collecting a ton of money.”
Separately, McIlroy told Sky Sports he thinks LIV Golf’s emergence could only hurt the game.
“If it [LIV Golf series] keeps going the way it’s going, it’s going to fracture the game more than it already is. The professional world in golf has already been fractured,” he told the outlet.
“There’s so many different tours and so many different things to follow. I’ve always been an advocate of making it more cohesive and trying to get people working together more, but this is ripping that apart.
“If the Saudis are hellbent on spending money in golf, let’s try to get it spent in a way that benefits the wider ecosystem. That’s where I would like to see it going, but whether that happens or not remains to be seen.”
McIlroy won the U.S. Open in 2011 and will be looking to continue his success in 2022 with a major victory. He hasn’t won a major since 2014. He finished second at the Masters in April.