McIlroy 'presumptuous' over LIV Golf demise, now sees it shaping future
Rory McIlroy, who wrote off the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series as "dead in the water" in February, said Tuesday it instead will "shape the future of professional golf."
The controversial rival to the US PGA and DP World tours guided by Australian legend Greg Norman was a major topic of conversation at Southern Hills ahead of Thursday's start of the PGA Championship.
McIlroy said in February that LIV Golf would be little more than a glorified 50-and-over tour, saying, "It's dead in the water in my opinion. I just can't see any reason why anyone would go."
With LIV Golf's first event next month in London set to pay a record $25 million, McIlroy's tune has changed even with no players so far committed to the upstart series.
"I might have been a little presumptuous at that point," McIlroy said. "It seems like it's still going. Greg and everyone behind it are very determined.
"Guys are going to make decisions. Honestly it's going to shape the future of professional golf one way or another, so I think we're just going to have to see how it all shakes out."
Norman was asked last week about Saudi involvement in the 2018 slaying of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi and replied in part, "Look, we've all made mistakes and you just want to learn from those mistakes."
"We do all make mistakes," McIlroy said. "I think Greg is in a very tough position because he has taken the role of being the leader of something that is very divisive.
"Greg can sit with the media for five hours and give four hours and 50 minutes of pretty good answers, and the 10 minutes that he maybe drops his guard is what's going to be picked up on.
"I just think he's in a no-win situation... It's certainly not a position I'd like to be in."
McIlroy longs for the matter to be settled and players to stay or go.
"Honestly I'm rooting for it all to be over. I'm just so sick of talking about it," he said.
"I've made my decision and I know where I want to play, and I'm not standing in anyone's way, and I'm not saying that they shouldn't go over there and play. If that's what they feel is right for them, then 100% they should go and do it."
The US PGA Tour last week refused to release members for the LIV London event, which is being played opposite the US PGA Canadian Open.
- Morikawa: big decision -
Reigning British Open champion and 2020 PGA winner Collin Morikawa says it comes down to personal decisions for every player with the record riches of LIV events a factor.
"Legally I don't know how everything is going to transpire, but it goes back to everyone has got their choice," Morikawa said. "You figure out where you are in life, you figure out what you want to do.
"There's a lot of money involved, so that money has to be a factor if that's what you're making this decision by. At the end of the day, it's your responsibility to make that choice, not anyone else's."
The choice was not a hard one for American Morikawa.
"My heart is with the PGA Tour and that's where my decision was made," he said. "You weigh where you are in life, what's important, what you want to do, and you make a decision.
"This one has just been blown up way more by the media, by everyone else, because it is a big decision.
"This is what I wanted to do all my life. But a lot of these guys, these veterans, they've kind of seen what they like and what they don't like.
"I'm just so young and I'm having a great time. What's there to complain about when we're out there playing golf and doing what we love?"
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