Rory McIlroy on LIV Golf players: ‘Don’t try to come back and play here’

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Rory McIlroy has drawn a line in the sand when it comes to players who defected to LIV Golf, and he wants those who have made the leap to stay by their side.

McIlroy addressed the Saudi-backed rival league again this week, saying he was not challenging those who joined LIV Golf, but believes they should not be allowed to participate in the PGA Tour or at the European Tour.

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland lines up a putt on the fourth green during the third round of the 122nd US Open Championship at The Country Club on June 18, 2022 in Brookline, Massachusetts.
(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

“I think at this point, if you’re going to play on another tour, then go ahead and play on another tour,” he said, via BBC. “You’re kind of leaving all your peers behind to make more money, which is fine. But just go over there. Don’t try to come back and play here again.”

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McIlroy’s comments follow a decision of a British court to allow Ian Poulter, Adrian Otaegui and Justin Harding to play in this week’s Scottish Open, despite the ban from the DP World Tour of players who played at the LIV Golf Invitational in London last month.

“This thing about having your cake and eating it, that’s what resentment [stems from] within the [PGA and DP World Tour] membership,” McIlroy said.

Ian Poulter of Team Europe hits the ninth green during a practice day for the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits Golf Course on Thursday September 23, 2021 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

Ian Poulter of Team Europe hits the ninth green during a practice day for the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits Golf Course on Thursday September 23, 2021 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Following the PGA Tour’s ban on LIV Golf players, the European Tour announced fines of approximately $120,000 and bans from the Scottish Open, Barbasol Championship and Barracuda Championship – all events co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour.

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Sixteen players, including the three who were granted temporary stays this week, have sent a letter to European Tour CEO Keith Pelley threatening legal action if the sanctions are not lifted.

“I will simply say that we are disappointed with the outcome of today’s hearing, but we will respect the ruling,” Pelley said in a statement following Monday’s ruling. “It is important to remember, however, that this is only a stay of the penalties imposed, pending the hearing of the players’ appeal as to whether those penalties were appropriate.”

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McIlroy said while he understood the reason why some players chase the moneyit’s not something he would do at this stage of his career.

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland waits to hit the 12th hole during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament, Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Tulsa, Okla.

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland waits to hit the 12th hole during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament, Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Tulsa, Okla.
(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

“They’re the younger ones for me that it’s hard to understand because I feel like they’re wasting a few years of their competitive career for financial reasons,” he said. “Again, that’s totally fine and justifiable if that’s what your goals and ambitions are, but that’s just different from what I would do.”

Michael C. Ford