Rory McIlroy hits LIV Golf players (twice) at testy BMW PGA event

Rory McIlroy opened the BMW PGA Championship with a four under 68 on Thursday.

Getty Images

Rory McIlroy knew the questions were coming but had no qualms about taking them head-on.

“What percentage of your FedExCup prize would you give us if we didn’t mention a certain topic at this press conference?” a reporter asked him to start his BMW PGA Championship press conference on Wednesday.

“Oh, I want you to,” McIlroy said. “I want you. Give me everything. It’s okay.”

The LIV Golf vs PGA Tour battle continues in the golf world, and while Jon Rahm and Billy Horschel have aired their grievances at Wentworth, McIlroy, who has been one of the PGA Tour’s most vocal and important supporters , decided to poke LIV players into the pitch in a more subtle way. Twice.

First, a little background. More than a dozen LIV Golf members are on the course at this week’s flagship DP World Tour event. As the PGA Tour did with its defectors, the DP World Tour also suspended players who left its league, but a UK arbitrator granted a stay of execution. So they’re still there, and they’ve taken places from DP World Tour players.

“They shouldn’t be here, but again, that’s just my opinion,” McIlroy said. “But we’re all gonna play on the 1st tee [Thursday] and we’re all going to play 72 holes, which is new to them at this point, and then we’ll go from there.

McIlroy, wasting no time in commenting on LIV’s 54-hole format, added that he doesn’t have much of a connection with his fellow European Ryder Cup players who became LIV signatories on the pitch this week (Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter), but at least one of them appeared to take issue with Horschel’s anti-LIV comments on Tuesday.

In a video shared on Twitter, Horschel and Poulter engage in a heated discussion on the Wentworth Club practice green. While it’s unclear what was said, it’s not hard to connect the dots on the potential topic.

McIlroy ended his press conference with a question about the matchup against a LIV player this week. In the aftermath and in contention with a LIV player on Sunday, the reporter asked, would there be extra motivation for McIlroy to win?

“I’m going to try to win a golf tournament anyway,” he said. “They are going to be quite tired on Sunday; it will be the fourth day.

Josh Berhow

Golf.com Editor

Josh Berhow is the editor of GOLF.com. The Minnesota native earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University at Mankato. You can reach him at [email protected]

Michael C. Ford