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Rory McIlroy has revealed his concerns about the direction of the game as the golf world prepares for the introduction of the LIV Golf Invitational Series.
The 33-year-old Northern Irishman has long been a supporter of the PGA Tour, and on the subject of the Saudi-backed Series, declared only last month that he was “sick of talking about it”. Since then, several high-profile players, including Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, have signed up for the Series that starts at London’s Centurion Club tomorrow - the same day as the RBC Canadian Open.
Speaking ahead of the St George's tournament, he said: "For the game in general I think it's just, it's a shame that it's going to fracture the game. I think if anything we need to make this - the professional game is the window shop into golf. If the general public are confused about who is playing where and what tournament's on this week and who is, you know, 'Oh, he plays there, OK, and he doesn't get into these events.' It just becomes so confusing. I think everything needs to try to become more cohesive and I think it was on a pretty good trajectory until this happened.”
The PGA Tour refused to grant releases to players for this week’s opening event in London, and recent days have seen several players resign from the Tour, including Johnson, Sergio Garcia and Kevin Na. It is also reported that other players will soon follow, including Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed. Despite his misgivings, McIlroy explained he understood why some had made the move. He said: “I certainly understand the guys that have went. I understand what their goals and their ambitions are in their life. I'm not, certainly not knocking anyone for going. It's their life, it's their decision, they can live it the way they want to.”
However, McIlroy also had some words of warning for anyone signing up purely for the money. He said: “Speaking to a few people yesterday and one of the comments was, anything, any decision that you make in your life that's purely for money usually doesn't end up going the right way. Obviously money is a deciding factor in a lot of things in this world, but if it's purely for money it's not, never seems to, you know, it never seems to go the way you want it to."
The 48 players in this week’s LIV Golf Invitational field will compete for a purse of $25m, with $4m for the individual winner and $120,000 for finishing last. There are also team prizes up for grabs, with the top three sharing $5m of the pot.
Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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