Rory McIlroy dreads BMW DP World Tour Championship
Winning the Tour Championship in stunning style was a golden moment for Rory McIlroy as he pocketed $26 million for beating world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler in an epic final.
But McIlroy still walked away from Atlanta with a knot in his stomach, saying he “hates” what the emergence of LIV Golf is doing to the game, with world No. 2 Cameron Smith looming.
Multiple reports throughout the weekend reaffirmed a long-held belief that Smith and fellow Australian Marc Leishman would be among the last players to join Greg Norman’s Saudi-backed squad this week, a move that would be a hammer blow for the PGA Tour on several fronts. .
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This not only means Australian stars would be banned from the PGA Tour, but their absence would reduce the international squad at the Presidents Cup later this month, a flagship PGA Tour event, to a relatively minor roster.
McIlroy, who was the face of the pushback against LIV and key to the PGA Tour’s significant changes for next year and beyond, didn’t hold back after his win and pointed to genuine feelings of angst ahead of a confrontation with many other defectors. I will be competing in the BMW Championship of the DP World Tour in England in mid-September.
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Up to 18 LIV players, including outspoken Englishmen Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter, former McIlroy Ryder Cup teammates, will be playing, and it’s unclear how he’ll go about it.
“If you believe in something, I think you need to speak up about it, and I believe in it very strongly. I really do,” McIlroy said of his strong anti-LIV stance.
“I hate how it does to the game of golf. I hate that. I really do. As if it was going to be hard for me to go to Wentworth in a few weeks and see 18 there. It just doesn’t suit me.
“I believe what I’m saying is the right thing, and I think when you believe what you’re saying is the right thing, you’re happy to crane your neck on the line.”
McIlroy revealed ahead of the Tour Championship that he contacted Smith, following the Australian British Open victory, to inform him of the upcoming changes to the PGA Tour amid rumors of his potential defection from LIV.
Smith declined to confirm or deny his ties, and even after finishing 20th in Atlanta, he left the event without addressing the situation further, with reports that he will be competing in the LIV event in Boston this week.
Savoring his win in what had been a “tumultuous time” for golf, McIlroy said he would continue to champion the PGA Tour no matter who joined LIV.
“Listen, this has been a tumultuous time for the world of men’s professional golf in particular. I was right in the middle of that. I picked a good time to go to the PGA Tour set,” he said.
“I got to the heart of the matter. I guess every chance I get, I try to defend what I think is the best place in the world to play elite professional golf.
“It’s in some ways fitting that I was able to do this today to kind of close out a year that’s been very, very difficult and different.”