'It's Become A Little More Personal' - McIlroy On LIV Players' Lawsuit

The Northern Irishman has hit out at the decision by 11 LIV Golf players to file an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour

Rory McIlroy talks with the media prior to the 2022 FedEx St. Jude Championship at TPC Southwind
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy has said the filing of the antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour has hardened his opinion of the those involved as the saga of players joining the LIV Golf Invitational Series continues.

Speaking before this week's FedEx St. Jude Championship, Mcilroy, when asked whether there was a point at which the matter became more personal, said: “Yeah, yeah, and it was when that lawsuit was filed last week or whatever it was. And the thing that I would say, I certainly have a little more respect for the guys that haven't put their names to the suit. So yeah, I mean, it's become a little more personal because of that.”

Video: What Is LIV Golf?

During a hearing in San Jose on Tuesday, when District Judge Beth Labson Freeman ruled against three of the players - Hudson Swafford, Talor Gooch and Matt Jones  - teeing it up in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, it was also announced that hearings for the rest of the antitrust case will start at the end of next month prior to a summary judgement in March 2023. A full trial is expected to begin a year from now. However, for McIlroy, there’s a sense of relief that at least the three FedEx Cup Playoff tournaments won’t be affected.

He said: “I mean, from my vantage point, common sense prevailed and I thought it was the right decision, and now that that has happened, I think it just let's us focus on the important stuff, which is the golf, and we can all move forward and not sort of have - not have that sideshow going on for the next few weeks, which is nice.”

Those remarks echoed the words of PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, who said the PGA Tour can now focus on what really matters in the aftermath of the ruling. Before McIlroy turned his attention to this week's tournament, though, he explained that players should be allowed to join the Saudi-backed Series, but not without facing the consequences. He said: “I don't begrudge anyone for going over to play LIV or taking guaranteed money. If that's your prerogative and what you want to do, totally fine. I think where the resentment comes from from the membership of this Tour is the fact that they want to try to get their way back in here with no consequences, and anyone that's read the PGA Tour handbook or abided by the rules and regulations, that would feel very unfair to them."

This week's tournament is McIlroy's first since he finished third in the 150th Open. He's hoping to become the first player to win the FedEx Cup three times after also claiming victories in 2016 and 2019. 

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

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.