Rory McIlroy Fears Golf Will Be 'Fractured' For 'A Long Time'

McIlroy is worried golf's civil war will become "irreparable"

Rory McIlroy crosses his arms
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy has told the Guardian that he fears golf will be "fractured" for a long time if the PGA Tour and LIV continue "doubling down in both directions."

The four-time Major winner and new World No.1 has been the figurehead for the PGA Tour throughout 2022 amid the emergence of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf. He has been highly critical of LIV but wants the game to unite, having recently said he's "all for getting round the table and sorting things out.” 

“This ‘us versus them’ thing has gotten way out of control already,” McIlroy told the Guardian's Ewan Murray.

“If the two entities keep doubling down in both directions, it is only going to become irreparable. We are going to have a fractured sport for a long time. That is no good for anyone.

"My life is not going to change whether people go to LIV or they don’t. But I care. It mightn’t change our life but it will the guys grinding their asses off to get a tour card. There’s a lot of people in the game who don’t have the voice or the platform I have so I am trying to speak up for them a little, too.”

In a wide-ranging interview, the Northern Irishman also spoke about his Ryder Cup colleagues that have left for LIV Golf, with his relationships now essentially gone despite sharing multiple team rooms and jubilant victories with the likes of Graeme McDowell, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter. He described them leaving for the Greg Norman-fronted series as "betrayal", with all LIV players likely to be forced out of the Ryder Cup, even if they win court cases to allow them to continue on the DP World Tour.

“It’s a weird thing,” McIlroy said of his fellow Europeans. “I think it is the first time in my life that I have felt betrayal, in a way. It’s an unfamiliar feeling to me. You build bonds with these people through Ryder Cups and other things.

"Them knowing that what they are about to do is going to jeopardise them from being a part of that ever again? There was a great opportunity for GMac to maybe be the captain at Adare in 2027. Most of Sergio’s legacy is Ryder Cup-based, same with Poulter, Westwood.

Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia embrace at the 2018 Ryder Cup

It is thought that McIlroy and former close friend Sergio Garcia's relationship has broken down this year over LIV Golf and the Ryder Cup

(Image credit: Getty Images)

“I would like to think the Ryder Cup means as much to them as it does to me. Maybe it does. But knowing what the consequences could be, I just could never make that decision. OK, it might not be 100% certain but that it could be the outcome? It just isn’t a move I would be willing to make. I thought they felt the same way.

“I feel like the place where they have been able to build their legacy and build their brand, they have just left behind. You could make the same argument about me, I started in Europe and went to America but I have always been supportive of the traditional system. If people felt so aggrieved about some things, I’d rather be trying to make those changes from inside the walls than trying to go outside and be disruptive.”

The World No.1 has made his views on LIV players competing for Team Europe very clear, having recently said: “I have said it once, I've said it a hundred times, I don't think any of those guys should be on the Ryder Cup team. I think we were in need of a rebuild, anyway."

The LIV rebels are set to learn their DP World Tour fates in a February court case.

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