Rory McIlroy And Brooks Koepka Play Masters Practice Round

McIlroy and LIV player Brooks Koepka played together on Tuesday at Augusta National

Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka walk during the 2022 Masters
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy may have fallen out with Sergio Garcia over LIV Golf but that doesn't mean he isn't still friends with other players that left for the Saudi-backed 54-hole circuit.

The Northern Irishman lives in Jupiter, FL, where many pros are based, and played a practice round with fellow Florida resident Brooks Koepka on Tuesday at Augusta National.

Koepka recently revealed that "no one is angry at anybody" and that he spent half an hour chatting to McIlroy recently in Jupiter about the newly proposed golf ball rollback.

It seems the pair are friends despite McIlroy being surprised by Koepka's LIV Golf move last year. “Am I surprised? Yes, because of what he said previously," McIlroy said last year, hinting that he believed Koepka was loyal to the PGA Tour.

"I think that's why I'm surprised at a lot of these guys because they say one thing and then they do another. I took them at their word and I was wrong," he said.

The pair, both former World No.1s and each with four Major titles under their belt, played nine holes together ahead of this week's tournament along with big-hitting amateur Gordon Sargent.

"I see some of these guys at home, I see Brooks a lot, I see DJ a lot, we sort of practice at the same place," McIlroy said.

"As you said, I think the more face time you get with some people, the more comfortable you become in some way. I'm going to go play nine holes here with Brooks in a little bit. And look, it's a very nuanced situation and there's different dynamics. You know, it's okay to get on with Brooks and DJ and maybe not get on with some other guys that went to LIV, right. It's interpersonal relationships, that's just how it goes.

"But this week and this tournament is way bigger than any of that, I feel, and it's just great that all of the best players in the world are together again for the first time in what seems to be quite a while."

Koepka revealed that McIlroy texted him congratulations after his LIV Golf win in Orlando this weekend, with Koepka replying with an offer of a practice round at Augusta.

Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka walk during a Masters practice round

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"I guess you could say that," Koepka said on people perhaps thinking them playing together is a step forward in the LIV vs PGA Tour civil war.

"It's more just two friends just wanting to play together. I guess you could look at it that way. But yeah, I just wanted to play with him, just compare my game. I know he's been playing well. So it was good for me to see, and I think it's fun to be able to go play with these guys.

"We haven't played with these guys in a long time, so just getting out to go play with them has been nice because it's been a lot of just seeing everybody. It's been probably, I don't know, eight months since we've seen a lot of guys."

The Northern Irishman also responded to Cameron Smith's comments that LIV players need to play well this week in response to claims that they don't play real golf. He thinks that the Aussie may be playing under more pressure this week because of that.

"I think that only puts more pressure on themselves that they are not just playing for themselves and they are playing for this cause," he said.

"That might help in some way, I don't know. But as I said before, I think this tournament is bigger than all of that. Look, it's a narrative and a storyline, but the Masters and the four Major championships sit above all that noise, and that's the way it should be this week."

McIlroy recorded his best ever Masters result last year, when he holed a bunker shot on the final green to card a 64 for a runner-up finish. He looks to claim his first Green Jacket once again this week as he attempts to complete the career grand slam.

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV