McIlroy cautious on penalties for players in Saudi-funded playoffs | Golf News

WASHINGTON: Rory McIlroy said Wednesday that players joining a new Saudi-backed golf series shouldn’t face heavy penalties, but reiterated he had no interest in signing up for the controversial business.
Speaking as the golfing world digested the news that former world number one Dustin Johnson was heading to the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series event next week, McIlroy said he was ‘indifferent’ to the news. players opting for the lucrative tour.
The PGA Tour has taken a hardline stance against the upstart series, warning in the past that professionals competing in the league could be banned from tour events in the future.
However, four-time Major winner McIlroy said he doesn’t want players signing up for the new series – which includes his close friend and fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell – to face harsh penalties.
“I definitely don’t think they should drop the hammer,” McIlroy replied when asked if he thought authorities should be tough on wayward golfers.
“Listen, (the authorities) are fully within their rights to enforce the rules and regulations that have been laid down.
“But that will end up being an argument about what those rules and regulations are.
“I have very close friends who play in this event in London, and I certainly wouldn’t want to stop them from doing what they think is right for themselves.
“It’s not something I personally would do. But I certainly understand why some of the guys left, and it’s something we’ll all keep an eye on and see what happens over the next few weeks. .”
McIlroy, speaking in Ohio on the eve of the PGA Tour Memorial Tournament, meanwhile expressed his sympathy for players reaching the end of their careers who have chosen to join LIV for the chance to win big bucks. ‘silver.
Next week’s LIV opening event at the Centurion Club in St. Albans, north London, will have the biggest purse in golf history at $25m – almost double any tournament major, with $4 million for the winner.
“You know, you have guys in a position where they’re literally not guaranteed a job next year,” McIlroy said.
“It’s hard to stay in the top 125 here, especially when you’re a guy in your 40s and maybe you’re not hitting the ball as far as you used to. It’s a young man’s game these days.
“So somebody who’s not guaranteed their Tour card next year, another entity comes in and says, ‘We’ll guarantee you that amount for three years, plus you’re playing for a ton more prize money. , and you play fewer events, you can spend more time with your family.
“I mean, every time you sit down and watch some of these things, you know, it’s very appealing to some of these guys who are in that position.
“Again, I’m not in that position, and it’s not something I would do. But you know, you have to at least try to put yourself in other people’s shoes and see where they’re coming from. .”

Michael C. Ford