McIlroy urges golf to learn from NI peace process

Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry celebrate
McIlroy won his 25th PGA Tour title at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans alongside Shane Lowry [Getty Images]

Rory McIlroy has called for professional golf to follow the example of the Northern Ireland peace process and seek "a compromise" that brings the divided parties together.

Amid the ongoing schism between the PGA Tour and the breakaway LIV circuit, the world number two recalled the Good Friday Agreement, the 1998 peace deal that helped to end the Troubles in his homeland.

McIlroy said there would need to be concessions made in any deal between the two golf tours and stressed the benefit of reaching an accord soon.

"I sort of liken it to like when Northern Ireland went through the peace process in the '90s and the Good Friday Agreement. Neither side was happy," McIlroy said.

"Catholics weren't happy, Protestants weren't happy, but it brought peace and then you just sort of learn to live with whatever has been negotiated, right?"

Speaking ahead of this week's Wells Fargo Championship in North Carolina, McIlroy added: "That was in 1998, and 20, 25, 30 years ahead, my generation doesn't know any different. It's just this is what it's always been like and we've never known anything but peace.

"That's sort of my little way of trying to think about it and trying to make both sides see that there could be a compromise here.

"It's probably not going to feel great for either side, but if it's a place where the game of golf starts to thrive again and we can all get back together, then I think that's ultimately a really good thing."

McIlroy not returning to policy board

As the PGA Tour and LIV continue to search for a way forward, McIlroy will not return to the former's policy board.

The 35-year-old stepped down from the board in November 2023 to focus on his game.

However, last month he had intimated he was willing to return, stating he felt he could accelerate the pace of merger talks between the two factions.

Despite talks around him replacing Webb Simpson on the board taking place, McIlroy revealed he would instead "just keep doing what I'm doing".

He said: "It just got pretty complicated and pretty messy.

"With the way it happened, it opened up some wounds and scar tissue from things that have happened before and I think there was a subset of people on the board who were uncomfortable with me coming back on for some reason.

"I think the best course of action is, if there [are] some people on there who aren't comfortable with coming back on, then I think Webb stays on and sees out his term.

"He's got to a place where he's comfortable with doing that. I just keep doing what I'm doing."