It’s no secret that professional golf is in a time of upheaval.
As pro golfers have left the PGA Tour in large numbers, the shake-up has had ripple effects.
Now a major LIV Golf critic is sounding the alarm over what’s happening to the sport and is calling for a truce.
Rory McIlroy has been one of the biggest critics of LIV Golf.
But now he believes the time has come for the PGA Tour and the controversial Saudi-backed circuit to sit down and talk because golf is “ripping itself apart.”
The outspoken McIlroy has criticized LIV Golf since it launched earlier this year.
On Wednesday at St. Andrews he said, “The ball is in LIV’s court.”
McIlroy, ranked No. 2 in the world, says there are numerous challenges, including an antitrust lawsuit from LIV and a handful of its players against the PGA Tour, but he also said that the two sides need to figure out a solution with the game having become completely divided.
At the Dunhill Links Championship, McIlroy said, “I’ve always said there’s a time and place where everyone involved needs to sit down and work together. It’s very hard to do that right now with court cases going on. There’s a natural timeline to let things settle down a little bit. People can go into those meetings with a cooler head. If they want to come to the table and try to play nicely within the sandbox that’s already created, the opportunity is there.”
One major drawback with LIV is that its events do not offer world ranking points, which is one of the major avenues for players to earn spots in golf’s four major championships if they are not otherwise eligible.
McIlroy says these players deserve points and chastised the LIV for “making up its own rules.”
For now, the PGA Tour and DP World Tour don’t seem to have much interest in sitting down with LIV to form a truce.
McIlroy continued, “I don’t want a fractured game. The game of golf is ripping itself apart and that’s no good for anyone. It’s not good for the guys on the traditional system or the guys on the other side either. Right now, with where everything is, it’s probably not the right time but we probably can’t leave it too much longer. I’m all for getting around the table and sorting things out.”
LIV Golf’s CEO and commissioner Greg Norman responded in an interview with Piers Morgan, saying, “Well, my message is, Rory, you’re an independent contractor. You have the right to make your decision. Remember, Rory started on the European tour. Then Rory decided to leave the European tour to go play where all the money is, where I went to play, to the PGA Tour. Don’t begrudge the other players for making a decision, that is a rightful decision under their independent contractual rights, to go and do it. It’s just a shame that people have taken this stance, when you look back over a period of time, they’ve pretty much done the same thing themselves.”
This is only the latest battle in a war of words between the two stars.
And the controversy comes as LIV Golf is close to inking a broadcast deal with Fox Sports to televise its tournament.
Sports with Balls will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.