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Rory McIlroy: 'PGA Tour, PIF merger will be good for golf'

McIlroy: 'PGA Tour, PIF merger will be good for golf'
© Reuters
Rory McIlroy says that the shock merger between the PGA Tour and the Saudi-Arabian backed Public Investment Fund will 'ultimately be good for golf'.

Rory McIlroy has claimed that the PGA Tour's shock merger with the Saudi Arabia-backed Public Investment Fund will be benefit 'professional golf'.

On Tuesday, the PGA Tour announced that it had joined forces with PIF - backers of rival tour LIV Golf - in an effort to unify the sport.

As a result, all ongoing litigation and courtroom battles between the respective parties have been ended, with the aim now to bring about a collective positive change.

The deal came as a surprise to the sport, particularly all but a few on the PGA Tour with players having not been informed by PGA commissioner Jay Monahan before the news broke at 3pm, BST.

Meetings were later held with the players who are participating at this week's Canadian Open, including McIlroy who have been vocal against LIV Golf's concept and the players who opted to leave the PGA Tour to take the finances on offer elsewhere.

In a highly-anticipated press conference, McIlroy suggested that the players who departed the PGA Tour should not be allowed to freely return, despite their newly-pending eligibility.

McIlroy revealed that he had known about discussions that had been taking place in the background, but was unaware of any deal being concluded until a few hours before the official announcement.

Nevertheless, while acknowledging that he has mixed emotions over the development, the Northern Irishman is largely in favour of the progress that has been made between the relevant parties.

The 34-year-old said: "It unifies it and secures its financial future. But there are mixed emotions in there as well.

"It's hard for me to not feel somewhat like a sacrificial lamb, feeling like I've put myself out there and this is what happens. Removing myself from the situation, I see how this is better for the game of golf, there's no denying it."

As quoted by BBC Sport, McIlroy added: "All I've wanted to do is protect the aspirational nature of the PGA Tour. This company sits above everything. Anyone involved with LIV now answers to Jay.

"Whether you like it or not, the PIF is going to keep spending money in golf. Now the PGA Tour is going to control how that money is spent. Would you rather have one of the biggest sovereign wealth funds as a partner or an enemy? At the end of the day, money talks, and you'd rather have them as a partner."

The current 2023 schedules for each of the PGA Tour and LIV Golf are expected to continue as planned, with no alterations coming until 2024 at the earliest.

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Rory McIlroy on his way to winning the CJ Cup on October 23, 2022.
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