Rory McIlroy questions validity of LIV Golf again as he prepares for US Open | Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy has again questioned the sporting validity of the rebel LIV Golf Series, two days after taking a swipe at Greg Norman in the immediate aftermath of his Canadian Open victory.

The first event of the LIV scheme, backed financially by Saudi Arabia and fronted by Norman, took place last week in Hertfordshire. The build-up to the US Open, which begins at Brookline on Thursday, has been dominated by chatter about this great disruption plan. McIlroy remains a firm advocate of the existing ecosystem.

“It’s the cloud that’s hanging over golf at the minute, right?” he said. “We are at a major championship and it’s what everyone wants to talk about so it’s on everyone’s mind.

“Those crowds on Sunday in Canada, LIV is never going to have that. It’s never going to have that sense of, I don’t know what the word is… but last week meant something. What they are doing over there doesn’t really mean anything apart from just collecting a ton of money.”

McIlroy subsequently pointed to the “competitive integrity” of seeing off Justin Thomas and Tony Finau in Toronto. McIlroy has been careful not to castigate his fellow professionals, including Phil Mickelson, who have been banned by the PGA Tour after accepting LIV’s lucrative overtures but he clearly remains unimpressed by their choice. “My dad said to me a long time ago, once you make your bed, you lie in it, and they’ve made their bed,” McIlroy said. “That’s their decision, and they have to live with that.”

Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau pledged allegiance to the PGA Tour early this year before performing a U-turn and signing for LIV. McIlroy had claimed the breakaway looked “dead in the water” at the point of the original position. “I took a lot of players’ statements at face value,” he said. “I guess that’s what I got wrong.

Brooks Koepka
Brooks Koepka has been linked to LIV Golf but said he was ‘tired of conversations’ about it. Photograph: Rob Carr/Getty Images

“You had people committed to the PGA Tour, and that’s the statements that were put out. People went back on that, so I guess I took them for face value. I took them at their word and I was wrong.”

McIlroy’s expansive approach was in contrast to that of Brooks Koepka. The two-time US Open winner, whose brother Chase is part of the LIV contingent, was tetchy when asked whether there is a figure that would be sufficient to coax him towards LIV.

“I haven’t given it that much thought,” Koepka said. “I’m trying to focus on the US Open. I legitimately don’t get it. I’m tired of the conversations. I’m tired of all this stuff.

“Y’all are throwing a black cloud on the US Open. I think that sucks. I actually do feel bad for them [the United States Golf Association] for once because it’s a shitty situation. We’re here to play, and you are talking about an event that happened last week.”

In a letter sent to the membership, the DP World Tour chief executive, Keith Pelley, has promised to set out a formal position next Thursday relating to LIV participation. Pelley said: “During discussions last week, and through additional private correspondence, some members asked me why we simply do not follow what the PGA Tour have done and immediately suspend these players.

“While I understand the frustration, I remind you all that although we work closely with the PGA Tour, we are different organizations and our rules and regulations are therefore different too.

“From many of your messages and my conversations, I know that many of you share the same viewpoint that Jay Monahan expressed in his note to PGA Tour members, namely that the players who have chosen this route have disrespected the vast majority of the members of this Tour.

“As for what we are going to do, because of the complexity of our situation we are still evaluating an overall course of action.”

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