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rory mcilroy three fairways

Has Rory McIlroy grown tired of talking about LIV Golf?

Rory McIlroy has been the PGA Tour’s most vocal supporter for some time now, showing leadership off the course and class on it. But, at the PGA Championship, he chose silence when it came to the inevitable LIV Golf questions

 

Rory McIlroy took up press conference duties on the second day of PGA Championship week – something he avoided at the Wells Fargo Championship.

And this seemed a different Rory McIlroy, a quieter McIlroy who wanted to avoid controversy and hot topics and instead engaged his game, Oak Hill, and winning what would be his fifth major.

Reporters can often rely on the Northern Irishman to deliver a solid line about the sport’s climate and the existence of LIV Golf – but not this time.

“If you could look into your crystal ball three years from now, where do you think the professional game will be?” was one question given to him.

“I don’t have a crystal ball,” he said.

“Is it going to be a conscious thing for you going forward to try and sidestep (the LIV) narrative?”

“Yes,” he said.

McIlroy disappointingly missed the cut at the Masters and then took the week off from the RBC Heritage, despite being expected to play due to its newfound elevated status in 2023.

Rory McIlroy

He has since attributed his absence at Harbour Town to “needing a break” after a “mentally taxing” 12 months in the lead-up to the Augusta National showpiece last month.

It is no secret McIlroy has shouldered much responsibility in leading the PGA Tour’s charge against LIV Golf by helping to mastermind a revamped schedule in 2023 and 2024.

The tour received heat from various directions for introducing a series of no-cut events next year. This led to some naysayers immediately drawing a resemblance to the events in the LIV Golf League.

And amongst all of this, McIlroy was trying to play golf. He performed incredibly well in 2022, winning the CJ Cup, as well as the FedEx Cup, and finished in the top 10 of each major.

At the start of this year, he won a tussle with Patrick Reed at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic after the pair endured a frosty exchange on the driving range before the event began.

His conflict with LIV Golf has cost him friendship in some cases – most publicly with Sergio Garcia.

He won’t have to worry about sharing a Ryder Cup dressing room with the Spaniard again, as the raft of DP World Tour resignations is just another change McIlroy has had to mentally digest.

So, you could understand why he would avoid further discussions about LIV Golf – it is all that’s occupied his mind since the Saudi-backed tour’s inception in June 2022.

“It wasn’t really the performance of Augusta that’s hard to get over, it’s the mental aspect and the deflation of it and trying to get your mind in the right place to start going forward again,” he said at Oak Hill.

“I think I’m close. I’ve made some good strides even from Quail Hollow a couple of weeks ago. I’m seeing some better things, better start lines, and certainly just some better golf shots.

“(I’m) a little more sure of where I’m going to start the ball and sort of a more consistent shot pattern. We’ll get out there and see and play.

“I expect to go out there, and if I can execute the way that I feel like I can, then I still believe that I’m one of the best players in the world and I can produce good golf to have a chance of winning this week.”

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NOW READ: Luke Donald: LIV golfers can still play for Europe at the Ryder Cup

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spoken to the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Henrik Stenson, to name just a few.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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