Ahead of the U.S. Open, players are rocking in Saudi-sponsored LIV Golf

BROOKLINE, Mass. – For six months, Rory McIlroy, a 13-year-old four-time PGA Tour champion and four-time champion, has been the sharpest critic of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Course.

A few days after LIV Golf held its inaugural tournament outside of London on Tuesday, McIlroy’s contempt for the league was heightened and he found an ally for Jon Rahm, this week’s U.S. Open champion at the Boston Country Club. Referring to last week’s PGA Tour victory at the Canadian Open and comparing it to the LIV Golf event, McIlroy said: “Last week in Canada, LIV will never be like that. Last week meant something. he meant nothing. ‘

McIlroy has long stressed that the LIV Golf series, whose main shareholder is the Public Investment Fund, the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Saudi Arabia, pays high fees to golf fans, with guarantees that it will pay a high price to everyone in the area. outstanding pay, exhibition rather than competition. In the middle of almost every event on the PGA Tour, for example, half of the golfers on the field – with the highest scores – are expelled from the tournament and sent without a prize money.

This led Rahm to describe the first event of LIV Golf on Tuesday as “not a golf tournament” because of the lack of cuts.

He added: “I want to play against the best in the world in a format that has been around for a hundred years. That’s what I want to see. Yeah Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like BT aint for me either. I play because of my passion for the game, and I want to play against the best in the world. ”

McIlroy did not take action on the same issue, especially when discussing younger players, such as 28-year-old Bryson DeChambeau, who chose PGA Tour’s LIV Golf. Most of the big names committed to LIV are considerably older and have been attracted by pre-contracts worth $ 150 million or more. Phil Mickelson, 51, reportedly received about $ 200 million to start the session.

“I understand, because a lot of these guys are in their late 40s, or in Phil’s case, in the early 50s,” said McIlroy, a 33-year-old from Northern Ireland. “Yes, I think everyone in this room, and they would tell you, their best days are behind us.

“That’s why I don’t understand guys my age going to go there because I would like to believe that my best days are still ahead. And I think there are some of them too. So it feels like you’re on the right track. “

When asked why he has been so loyal to the PGA Tour, McIlroy replied, “I think that’s the right thing to do.”

He then referred to the hundreds of millions of dollars in PGA Tour events for various charities and added, “That’s a huge legacy and I think it’s something people don’t talk about enough.”

It is also true that McIlroy’s assessment of the LIV Golf series has been wrong in the past. In February, he called the company “dead in the water.” Asked about the misdemeanor trial on Tuesday, McIlroy’s response was also intended to be a blow to the nose of those who left the PGA Tour.

“I think I’ve taken a lot of statements from the players apparently,” he said. “I think that’s why I got it wrong. You had people committed to the PGA Tour, that’s what the statements were released. People backed away from that. I took my word for it, and I was wrong. ‘

Finally, McIlroy was asked if he had lost respect for Mickelson, the most famous player to have failed. How his response began was indicative.

“As a golfer? No, ”McIlroy said.

He continued: “As a golfer, I have the utmost respect for Phil. I’m disappointed with how he’s done.”

About 90 minutes after McIlroy addressed reporters, Brooks Koepka, who likes his opposite role, had a different opinion about the PGA Tour-LIV Golf break.

“I’m trying to focus on the U.S. Open, man,” Koepka said with a gesture. “I don’t understand legitimacy. I’m tired of conversations. I’m tired of all this stuff. “

Koepka denounced the news media echo as “throwing this black cloud over the US Open.”

“The more you give up,” Koepka said, “the more you keep talking.”

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