On the same day a PGA Tour loyalist turned his Scottish Open press conference into an anti-LIV pulpit, professional golf’s conscience called for both sides to come to the table and engage in “peace talks.”
That’s the term that was presented to Rory McIlroy by BBC Sport Northern Ireland on Tuesday, and the four-time major champion agreed with that sentiment.
“It’s unfortunate,” McIlroy said. “It’s messy. I wish it hadn’t got that messy. In hindsight there were probably steps that were missed that wouldn’t have made it as messy.
“There’s so much chat about where the money is coming from Saudi and everything else. They sponsor so many other things. They are all over sport.”
A host of top golfers have now left the PGA and DP World Tours to join the controversial LIV tour. It’s funded by Saudi Arabia, a country with a poor human rights record. Rory McIlroy had his say – and told BBC Newsline he’s disappointed it’s descended into a legal dispute. pic.twitter.com/42CSnrIFnm
— BBC Newsline (@bbcnewsline) July 5, 2022
Seven-time PGA Tour winner and former FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel had essentially given the golf equivalent of a pro wrestling interview earlier in the day, labeling the LIV defectors “hypocrites” for expressing their desire to play less frequently while simultaneously fighting in courtrooms for the right to keep events on their schedules.
“I’ve been really frustrated by it because there’s a lot of guys that are hypocrites, that aren’t telling the truth, that are lying about some things, and I just can’t stand to sit here anymore and be diplomatic about it as I have been in the past,” Horschel said Tuesday. “I don’t fault anyone for going to play the LIV tour. I don’t have any ill will for anyone going to play the LIV tour. I have ill will toward comments that they’ve made, comments saying that [PGA Tour commissioner] Jay Monahan doesn’t listen, the PGA Tour doesn’t listen to us.
“Jay Monahan and everyone at headquarters is the PGA Tour. They work tirelessly for us to reap the financial rewards and have all the opportunities that we have. At the same time, I am one of 200-plus members of the PGA Tour. I am the PGA Tour, just as 200 other members are the PGA Tour, so when you take shots at the PGA Tour and Jay Monahan, you’re not just taking shots at them, you’re taking shots at us.”
Ever the voice of reason, McIlroy toned down the rhetoric while holding firm on his position that former members of the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour should fully embrace the decision they’ve made and move on from those circuits entirely.
“At the end of the day it will sort itself out,” McIlroy said. “Everyone has to pivot and change and try to be better and hopefully get to that stage but as you said now it’s messy and all the narrative isn’t good; it’s splitting the game instead of everyone coming together. I think everyone needs to come together a little bit more.”