Last June, Rory McIlroy was strongly opposed to allowing LIV Golf players back to the PGA Tour and pretending nothing had happened, but his views have taken a turn
The Northern Irishman is “done with trying to change people’s minds” having led the tour’s crusade against LIV Golf since the rebel league’s inception in the summer of 2022.
After saying he hated the Saudi-funded circuit and declaring the players who transferred couldn’t be welcomed back last June, McIlroy was the PGA Tour’s loudest and most passionate supporter.
But after resigning from the PGA Tour Policy Board, gravitating away from golf’s corridors of power, the four-time major champion admits his views have U-turned since last year.
“I think life is about choices. Guys made choices to go and play LIV, guys made choices to stay here,” he said at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
“If people still have eligibility on this tour and they want to come back and play or you want to try and do something, let them come back. I mean – I think it’s hard to punish people.
“I don’t think there should be a punishment for – obviously I’ve changed my tune on that because I see where golf is and I see that having a diminished PGA Tour and having a diminished LIV Tour or anything else is bad for both parties.
“It would be much better being together and moving forward together for the good of the game. That’s my opinion of it. So to me, the faster that we can all get back together and start to play and start to have the strongest fields possible I think is great for golf.”
“Something had to give” when McIlroy gave up his time-consuming role on the PGA Tour Policy Board in November and it was at the end of 2023 when his acceptance of LIV Golf and the Public Investment Fund became more clear.
Following Jon Rahm‘s shock defection from the PGA Tour in December, McIlroy conceded to being too judgmental of players who took the LIV leap and hoped everyone could “come back together” when speaking on the Stick to Football podcast.
Now another of his European Ryder Cup teammates, Tyrrell Hatton, has joined Rahm and McIlroy “understood where he was coming from” having spoken to the Englishman about his decision.
With a peace deal between the PGA Tour and the PIF, LIV’s primary investors, appearing imminent, McIlroy pledged his support to Hatton having spent many months trying to sway players in the PGA Tour’s favour.
“I said to him just like I said to Jon, like I’m totally supportive of your decision if that’s what you feel is the right thing for you,” he added.
“Look, these are guys that I’ve spent a lot of time with, and I guess I’ve said this before, but I’ve come to the realisation I’m not here to change people’s minds, I’m here to just try – especially when I was at the board level, trying to give them the full picture of where things are at and hopefully where things are going to go.
“They can do with that information what they want. But at the end of the day, I think I’m done with trying to change people’s minds and trying to get them to see things a certain way or try to see things through my lens because that’s ultimately not the way the world works.
“You know, these are guys that I respect and that I’ve spent a lot of time with and if that’s what they feel is the best decision for them, then I’m going to be supportive of that decision and let them go and do their own thing.”