Rory McIlroy has been one of the PGA Tour’s most vocal proponents since rival LIV Golf emerged, but he appears to be drawing a line under that approach.
There have been concerns that McIlroy’s frequent role as a defender of the PGA Tour in front of the media would begin to affect his game, and his recent results certainly added weight to that suggestion.
The 34-year-old is preparing for the second Major of the year, the PGA Championship, following a recent drop off in form that saw him miss the cut at The Masters and tie for 47th in a tournament he’s won three times, the Wells Fargo Championship.
McIlroy is going in search of his first Major victory since 2014. Despite that nine-year wait for a fifth title, though, he has won the PGA Championship twice and this year’s tournament is being held at Oak Hill Country Club, where he is a member.
Those are clearly factors working in McIlroy’s favour, and, if his answers on LIV Golf are anything to go by, he is not about to be distracted from the task at hand by concerning himself with matters related to the circuit.
McIlroy was asked: “If you could look into your crystal ball three years from now, where do you think the professional game will be?” His answer was succinct: “I don’t have a crystal ball.” The Northern Irishman was then asked: “You don’t want to speculate?” to which he simply responded: “No.”
The Q&A then continued for several minutes until the subject of LIV Golf was raised again. This time, McIlroy was asked: “You mentioned earlier about not having a crystal ball; obviously we all asked you a lot of questions about LIV, and you’ve spoken yourself recently about the burden of that. Is it going to be a conscious thing for you going forward to try and sidestep that narrative?” His answer could barely have been clearer: “Yeah.”
McIlroy has recently spoken of his desire to concentrate more on playing related matters than those concerning the PGA Tour’s position on LIV Golf. Also, after surprisingly skipping the designated PGA Tour event the RBC Heritage, for which he will lose $3m of his PIP bonus money, McIlroy broke his silence on that decision by admitting: “It’s been a pretty taxing 12 months mentally so it was nice to just try to disconnect a little bit and get away from it.”
No one except McIlroy can be sure how – or even if – the issue of LIV Golf has affected his form. However, he will be hopeful that, after Sunday, the next time he faces the media,…
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