Friday, March 1, 2024

Rory McIlroy Says Role in PGA Tour, LIV Golf Feud Has Impacted His Performance

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AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Rory McIlroy’s 2023 Players’ Championship appearance ended after two rounds Saturday after he carded a five-over 149 to miss the cut by three strokes.

After his round, McIlroy was asked whether his de-facto role as the player face for the PGA Tour in its ongoing feud with LIV Golf (and also his effort in guiding changes on the Tour in response) has affected his play.

“It’s just the time management,” McIlroy said, per ESPN’s Mark Schlabach.

“The golf [at tournaments], that’s fine, but it’s just more the time at home to make sure you’re getting prepared, to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to be ready once you show up to these weeks. That’s where I’ve maybe sacrificed a little bit of time with some of this other stuff.

“As I said, I’m ready to get back to being purely a golfer.”

McIlroy has arguably been the most ardent PGA Tour player to criticize LIV Golf and its CEO Greg Norman.

Of note, McIlroy told Kyle Porter of CBS Sports last July that “there’s no room in the golf world for LIV Golf” and that he’d be “super happy” if it went away tomorrow. In August, McIlroy told CNN Sport’s Patrick Snell that LIV Golf was “ripping” the game apart.

He also called for Norman’s removal at a press conference for the DP World Tour Championship in November.

McIlroy has also been at the player forefront of significant schedule and purse changes in the PGA Tour schedule in response to LIV Golf’s emergence. He was also a big part of a players-only meeting in advance of the Players’ Championship in which approved Tour Policy Board changes were relayed.

McIlroy is also currently a player director on the board.

In sum, McIlroy has a host of off-course responsibilities in response to this issue.

Despite all this, the reigning Tour champion appeared to be in good form heading into the Players’ Championship after tying for second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. But a four-over 76 on Thursday had McIlroy running uphill for the remainder of his tournament, and now he’s headed home.

McIlroy is ultimately looking forward to focusing more on golf.

“I’d love to get back to being a golfer, yeah,” McIlroy said. “Look, it’s been a busy couple of weeks, and honestly, it’s been a busy sort of six or eight months. But as I said at the start of the week, everything has sort of been announced now and the wheels have been put in motion, so it should obviously quiet down from here.”

It’s as good a time as ever to do that with the Masters coming up soon on April 6.

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