Rory McIlroy says no truth to the rumor he's joining LIV Golf

No, Rory McIlroy is not joining LIV Golf, not even for the rumored $850 million.

That rumor began to circulate through social media Tuesday. McIlroy's agent denied any truth to it, and now McIlroy himself has come out to refute the story.

"I honestly don’t know how these things get started, I’ve never been offered a number [potential deal] from LIV and I’ve never contemplated going to LIV,” McIlroy told the Golf Channel's Todd Lewis on Tuesday. “I think I’ve made it clear over the past two years that I don’t think it’s something for me. That doesn’t mean I judge people who have gone and played [LIV Golf]. One of the things I’ve realized over the past two years is people can make their own decisions for whatever they think is best for themselves and who are we to judge them for that? For me, my future is here on the PGA Tour.”

Thus far, LIV's signing of Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and other big-name stars has not resulted in elevating interest in the tour, at least not with fans. TV ratings on the CW are almost non-existent and crowds at LIV events remain sparse.

Outside of Tiger Woods, McIlroy has always been LIV's white whale. Because while signing Rahm in December was a massive get for the upstart tour, nabbing McIlroy would serve the dual purpose of both elevating LIV and undercutting the PGA Tour.

Could a signing of McIlroy be the one to finally tip things in LIV's favor?

It remains only a topic of conversation for now, as McIlroy appears steadfast in his loyalty to the PGA Tour. But for the sake of the exercise, it should be noted that LIV's mission isn't just focused on capturing an American golf audience, but a worldwide one. McIlroy, who is from Northern Ireland, would certainly tip the scales in LIV's favor in terms of its foreign-born roster, and that would certainly be something.

It would also poach another top-10 player from the PGA Tour, giving LIV the world's No. 2 (McIlroy) and No. 4 (Rahm) ranked players to go along with a lineup that includes would-be top-ranked players if they were still accumulating world ranking points (see Koepka, DeChambeau, Cam Smith and Tyrrell Hatton, among others).

But again, it's not happening.

That's a good thing for the Tour, a bad thing for LIV and a reminder that the game of golf is still very much fractured.