DUBAI, UAE — And so it goes. Just 24 hours after Greg Norman told the world that “every PGA Tour player should be grateful to the LIV, including Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy,” McIlroy responded in kind. Speaking in Dubai two days before the DP World Tour Championship, the Northern Irishman delivered what is by far his most definitive – and certainly most definite – verdict on the behavior of LIV Golf’s CEO and the comments that have done so much to create a stalemate between a controversial Saudi-backed scheme and the combined power of the PGA and DP world tours.
“There are a few things that I would like to see on the LIV side that need to happen,” McIlroy said on Tuesday. “I think Greg needs to go. I think he just needs to leave the stage on the left. He left his mark, but I think now is the right time to kind of say, “Look, you got this thing off the ground, but no one will talk unless there is an adult in the room who can really try to fix the fences.” “. . Then anything can happen. But now it is a dead end, because it cannot be otherwise.”
And McIlroy didn’t end there.
“As far as what Greg says, other than that comment, it depends on what you are looking for from golf,” McIlroy said. “Am I thankful that LIV has given the best players more opportunities to earn more? Yes. But will it ultimately make me happier at the end of my career? No. There are many things people golf and do their jobs for, and it’s not just about money. It’s about other things. It’s about implementation. It’s about trying to get the best out of yourself. It’s about the satisfaction of being there and kind of trying to reach your potential.
“This is what certainly makes me the happiest in the game of golf. Some people may play for other reasons. But for me, I am happy when I play at my best, no matter how much I earn. But at the same time, sporting achievements motivate me.”
“I’m very grateful to everyone in golf and I’ve said it a million times: Tiger is the reason we play as much as we play,” said McIlroy, who has grown so close to Tiger in recent years that they are now business partners. “Tiger is the reason our game is so high. The Tiger Generation and the generation that followed have benefited from him, his accomplishments and what he has done for the game of golf. I do not think that the Tiger should be grateful to anyone for something. I think everyone else in the game should be grateful.”
This diatribe is just the latest piece in the turmoil at the forefront. an ongoing controversy that has dominated professional golf for the past 12 months, came in the middle of another exciting World No. 1 press conference. What sets McIlroy apart from many of his peers is that he really tries to answer questions. Amidst his apparent unease about the current situation, he never resorts to the glib, cliché-riddled response that so many love.
“The best thing about golf is when all the best players play together and what is happening right now is not happening,” he continued. “That’s why I’m afraid for the game when it happens. That’s why, again, it’s controversy, because there are lawsuits going on and people are suing each other; it’s very, very dirty.”
One more example. Eager to criticize the fact that this week’s DP World Tour season culminates in only about 21 world ranking points for the winner (compared to about 39 on the RSM Classic PGA Tour), McIlroy takes the opposite view. clearly considered.
“When you look at two different fields, you have a field of 50 people here and a field of 144 people there,” McIlroy said. players to contribute to their field strength. The reason this event has 21 points and RSM has 39 is because the person who wins RSM has to beat 139 other guys. You only need to defeat 49 other guys. a fairer system.”
McIlroy acknowledged that the recent change in world ranking calculation was frustrating for people who “used to get a certain number of world ranking points in one competition, and now they have missed it. “But I would say that there were more of these events than there should be,” he objected. “I think this is the fairest system you can think of right now. And it took a lot of work.”
As for what lies ahead at the Earth Course at Jumeriah Golf Estates this week, where McIlroy is looking to win a season title for the fourth time in his career (but the first time he has also won a PGA Tour event in a year). FedEx Cup), McIlroy admits competitors are after him. He had nothing but good things to say about another antipode, New Zealander Ryan Fox, who is the closest rival to the four-time Grand Champion at the top of the DP World Tour. The pair are separated by 128.1 points.
“Ryan had an amazing season,” McIlroy said. “Yesterday I saw him go from 217th in the world to 23rd. This is an amazing climb. You have to play great golf and you have to consistently play great golf for a decent amount of time to get to that high level. And he did this by playing golf tournaments that don’t necessarily earn as many world ranking points as some others. Nice to see”.
However, Fox and everyone else will have to play better than good to rebuild McIlroy, he will have a difficult task ahead of him. In 11 previous matches in Dubai, the Northern Irishman has won twice and scored 133 under par in total.