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The Saudi Golf League has dominated proceedings in the golfing world over the last month. However, following the announcements of support of the PGA Tour from Dustin Johnson (opens in new tab) and Bryson DeChambeau (opens in new tab) on Sunday afternoon, it seems that the threat of the SGL is going away.
Speaking after his final round at the Genesis Invitational on Sunday, Rory McIlroy gave his thoughts on the league after the announcements of two of the game's biggest stars, claiming that the SGL is now "dead in the water" and that "I just can't see any reason why anyone would go."
The four-time Major winner, who stated back in May 2021 that the idea of the SGL was nothing more than a "money grab" (opens in new tab), went on to say: "I think with everything that's transpired in the last few days, I don't think it's surprising. Like I've always reiterated, I feel like this is the best place to play golf if you're an elite professional golfer.
"Maybe I'm fortunate that I've been more privy to the inner workings of the Tour and I've been more involved and got quite a good relationship with the leadership team on the PGA Tour, Jay, Andy Pazder, Ross Berlin, all those sort of guys. Every time I walk out of a meeting or walk out of any sort of interaction with them, I'm always very confident that the Tour's headed in the right direction.
"I was really glad to see DJ and Bryson put out those statements this week. We all want to play against the best players in the world and they're certainly two of the best players in the world and it's nice to know that they're committed to playing here and committed to making this the best tour in the world."
Although there had been multiple reports of players being offered eye-watering amounts of money, as well as individuals signing non-disclosure agreements (opens in new tab), McIlroy never really seemed worried about the SGL takeover, stating: "I don't think they put the right leadership team in from the start. In all honesty, like the epicenter of the professional world still revolves around Tiger, he is the epicenter.
"Like who knows when he's going to play again, but if they don't have his blessing even, it's got no chance. Then roll in Jon Rahm (opens in new tab), the best player in the world, Collin Morikawa, No. 2, me who's been up there for a while, everyone else, I mean, yeah."
With the SGL rumoured to announce a formal kick-off the week of The Players Championship (opens in new tab), only time will tell what is to happen. At the moment, it is believed around 17 golfers have already "jumped over" (opens in new tab) to the league, with PGA Tour professional, Kramer Hickok, believing that there will be "12-14 events, with no cut and 40 players."
However, McIlroy is unsure of the participation numbers, humorously stating: "Who else have you got to fill the field? I mean, Greg Norman would have to tee it up to fill the field. Like, I mean seriously? I mean, who else is going to do it? I don't think they could get 48 guys."
Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
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