Rory McIlroy Plans To Sidestep The LIV Golf 'Narrative'

The 34-year-old is refusing to be drawn on the PGA Tour's rival despite having plenty to say on it in the past

Rory McIlroy during a practice round before the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club
Rory McIlroy is refusing to be drawn on LIV Golf
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy has been one of the PGA Tour’s most vocal proponents since rival LIV Golf emerged, but he appears to be drawing a line under that approach.

There have been concerns that McIlroy’s frequent role as a defender of the PGA Tour in front of the media would begin to affect his game, and his recent results certainly added weight to that suggestion.

The 34-year-old is preparing for the second Major of the year, the PGA Championship, following a recent drop off in form that saw him miss the cut at The Masters and tie for 47th in a tournament he’s won three times, the Wells Fargo Championship.

McIlroy is going in search of his first Major victory since 2014. Despite that nine-year wait for a fifth title, though, he has won the PGA Championship twice and this year’s tournament is being held at Oak Hill Country Club, where he is a member

Those are clearly factors working in McIlroy’s favour, and, if his answers on LIV Golf are anything to go by, he is not about to be distracted from the task at hand by concerning himself with matters related to the circuit.

McIlroy was asked: “If you could look into your crystal ball three years from now, where do you think the professional game will be?” His answer was succinct: “I don’t have a crystal ball.” The Northern Irishman was then asked: “You don’t want to speculate?” to which he simply responded: “No.”

The Q&A then continued for several minutes until the subject of LIV Golf was raised again. This time, McIlroy was asked: “You mentioned earlier about not having a crystal ball; obviously we all asked you a lot of questions about LIV, and you've spoken yourself recently about the burden of that. Is it going to be a conscious thing for you going forward to try and sidestep that narrative?” His answer could barely have been clearer: “Yeah.”

McIlroy has recently spoken of his desire to concentrate more on playing related matters than those concerning the PGA Tour’s position on LIV Golf. Also, after surprisingly skipping the designated PGA Tour event the RBC Heritage, for which he will lose $3m of his PIP bonus money, McIlroy broke his silence on that decision by admitting: “It’s been a pretty taxing 12 months mentally so it was nice to just try to disconnect a little bit and get away from it.”

No one except McIlroy can be sure how - or even if - the issue of LIV Golf has affected his form. However, he will be hopeful that, after Sunday, the next time he faces the media, the subject will turn to less fraught matters - his fifth Major win. 

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.