Rory McIlroy doubles down at BMW PGA Championship

Wentworth, England: Rory McIlroy urged questioners to ‘bring him in’ after one apologized for raising the controversial LIV Golf question during the pre-tournament press conference, No. 3 in the world apparently enjoying the role he has taken on as the players’ spokesperson for the United States. PGA and European tours (OK, two of them), and the majority of their members.

McIlroy could be forgiven for being world-weary after 18 months of rumors and counter-rumors and during which he failed to add to his tally of four major titles, the last of which came in 2014. Instead From that, he appears to have lit a fire under the 33-year-old as he embraces the increasingly difficult situation, with two tournament wins and top-10 finishes in all four majors already. During that time, he hasn’t shied away from firing LIV Golf and his players, some of whom are longtime colleagues and former Ryder Cup teammates.

The Phil Mickelson-recruited but unauthorized Saudi-backed Phil Mickelson-hosted Greg Norman-hosted LIV tour also saw Tiger Woods, who turned down a ‘high nine-figure offer’ to join the 54-hole series with departure shotgun, take a major pellet and castigate those who took business. But it falls to the Northern Irishman to do most of the talking for his neighbor Jupiter as the 15-time Major winner gets back into shape after the 2021 car crash that broke his right leg.

“I stand for what I believe in,” McIlroy said. “I speak up because I believe in the game of golf, and [although] the other side will say the exact same thing, I don’t see how having 48 handpicked players makes the game grow in any way. There must be ways. There has to be meritocracy.

“You have to give someone the ambition or the opportunity to know that if they’re playing on the [second-tier] Challenge Tour that anyway, in a year, two years or five years, they can be difficult for the big championships, which are the pinnacle of our sport.

Woods became publicly involved again last month and with McIlroy hosted a players’ meeting in Delaware during the FedEx Cup play-offs and where a series of new proposals for players on the American circuit – including one for a dozen of 60-a-side tournaments without cups and US $20 million ($30 million) purses – have been proposed and are expected to be enacted from next season.

Rory McIlroy said it was “difficult to stomach” sharing a course with his former teammates and LIV Golf defectors.Credit:Pennsylvania

McIlroy, who had a public dig at Norman in June after surpassing Australia’s record 20 wins on the US PGA Tour, won this FedEx Cup for the second time and then said it would be “difficult for me to go to Wentworth and see 18 [now 17] of them there”. Once there he said ‘we’re all going to play 72 holes which is a novelty for them at this stage’ admitted he barely had a relationship with former teammates Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia and suggested that the way back for LIV players who might change their mind would be “via qualifying school.”

At issue is the LIV players’ assertion that they should be free to return on their tour to top up their World Ranking points, with only the top 50 guaranteed in all four major tournaments in a season. Both tours argue, and a court in the United States agreed with them, that LIV players took a charge that nullifies that right, but in July a UK court sat on the fence when three players from LIV, including Poulter, sought a ruling to allow them to play in the Scottish Open and were successful. The full hearing will take place in February.

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