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Nobody has been more outspoken against LIV Golf than Rory McIlroy. While he continues to be the levelheaded spokesperson of the PGA Tour, he’s certainly changed his tune about the Saudi-backed circuit over the last couple of months.
In February, when Phil Mickelson made headlines by sharing his interest in LIV Golf while simultaneously calling the Saudis “scary motherf–kers,” McIlroy eviscerated him for doing so. Fast-forward to March, and McIlroy offered up his sympathy to Mickelson after labeling him “egotistical” and “naive.”
Now McIlroy has taken a broader step with his changed outlook on LIV Golf as a whole.
Speaking with the BBC, McIlroy explained that “peace talks” need to happen between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, and LIV Golf.
“It’s unfortunate, it’s messy,” McIlroy said. “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.”
LIV Golf has been labeled as a sportswashing operation by many given its financial support comes courtesy of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. That’s a fair label given Saudi’s horrific human rights track record.
Rory McIlroy Gets Honest About The Saudis Involvement In Sport
While it’s fair to criticize where LIV Golf’s money is coming from, this isn’t the only sports operation the Saudis are tied to. McIlroy, along with anyone else paying attention, knows that.
“There’s so much chat about where the money is coming from Saudi and everything else,” McIlroy explained. “They sponsor so many other things. They are all over sport. The Aramco Ladies Series in golf has actually been really good for ladies golf in terms of big prize funds and everything else.”
Those comments from McIlroy may surprise some folks, but they were just the beginning. He went on to say that if the Saudis are actually serious about investing billions into the game of golf then that’s “a good thing” in his mind.
“I understand people’s reservations with things but at the same time, if these people are serious about investing billions of dollars into golf, I think ultimately that’s a good thing but it has to be done the right way. I think if they were to invest, having it be invested inside the existing structures. That’s the thing I’ve tried to advocate for over the last few months.”
McIlroy using the phrase “a good thing” while talking about LIV Golf and the Saudis funding it will undoubtedly send shockwaves through the golf world.
The four-time major winner made it clear he just wants everyone to come together, but all of this will inevitably be settled in the courts sooner rather than later.