Rory McIlroy is worried about golf’s future.
McIlroy said Wednesday ahead of the DP World Tour’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship that he believes the sport is “ripping itself apart” amid the ongoing feud between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf.
"I don't want a fractured game," McIlroy said. "I never have. You look at some other sports and what's happened, and the game of golf is ripping itself apart right now.
"It's no good for the guys on, you know, this side or the sort of traditional system, and it's no good for the guys on the other side, either. It's no good for anyone. There is a time and a place for it. I just think right now, with where everything is, it's probably not the right time. But saying that, I don’t think we can let it go too much longer.”
McIlroy has been one of the strongest, most vocal opponents of the controversial Saudi Arabian-backed league since its inception earlier this year. The two sides are deep in a legal battle, too. The Tour filed a counterclaim against LIV Golf on Wednesday night in response to LIV Golf’s antitrust lawsuit against the Tour.
LIV Golf has lured several big names away from the Tour, including multiple recent major championship winners and several ranked inside the top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Phil Mickelson, among others, has called for the two leagues to start working together and to find a way to coexist — a message that McIlroy seems to have come around on. Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, however, shut that idea down this week. Monahan isn’t ready for that, at least not while their legal battle is ongoing.
“I think words and actions are important,” Monahan said this week. “I think it’s impractical [to work with LIV Golf] when you look at the fact that certain players have sued the PGA Tour, their employer has sued the PGA Tour.
“It’s not in the cards. It hasn’t been in the cards and it’s not in the cards. I think we’ve been pretty consistent on that front.”
McIlroy, though, said he does see a path forward. While the 22-time Tour winner and reigning FedExCup champion admitted that he may have contributed to the rift in golf, McIlroy believes it’s up to LIV Golf members to come back.
“The ball is in their court,” McIlroy told BBC this week. “If they want to come to the table and try to play nicely within the sandbox that’s already created, the opportunity is there … I’ve probably said a few things that are maybe too inflammatory at times, but it just comes from the heart and how much I hate what this is doing to the game.
“It has been an ugly year, [but] there’s a solution to everything. If we can send rockets to the moon and bring them back again and have them land on their own, I’m sure we can figure out how to make professional golf cohesive again.”