LIV Golf: Rory McIlroy says LIV players cannot 'have their cake and eat it'

"If you're going to play in a different tour, go and play in a different tour" - McIlroy

Rory McIlroy says players that have joined the LIV Golf series should not be allowed to compete on other tours.

On Monday, England's Ian Poulter was informed he could play at this week's Scottish Open after an appeal against his ban was upheld.

Poulter was among those barred by the DP World Tour for joining the series.

"I think at this stage, if you go over and play on a different tour, then go over and play on a different tour," said McIlroy.

"You're sort of basically leaving all your peers behind to go make more money, which is fine. But just go over there. Don't try and come back and play over here again.

"This whole having your cake and eating it type thing is what the resentment [stems from] within the [PGA and DP World Tour] membership."

His comments echo the sentiments of American Billy Horschel, who launched a scathing attack on those who have joined the Saudi-backed series on Monday, branding them "hypocrites and liars".

Poulter was among a number of high-profile players to have been indefinitely suspended by the PGA Tour by signing up to the LIV project.

Ian Poulter at the JP McManus Pro-Am
Ian Poulter was informed that he will be able to compete at the Scottish Open having initially been barred from the event

The European-based DP World Tour followed suit by banning their members that played in last month's opening LIV tournament and fining them £100,000.

That move prompted 16 players to threaten legal action if the bans were to be upheld, and it's that move which has caused some resentment, according to world number two McIlroy.

"That's the tricky part and I think that's where some of the resentment comes from," added the 33-year-old.

"For me I don't resent anyone. A lot of these guys are my friends and they're still going to be my friends regardless of the decisions they make."

McIlroy understands money motivation

A number of high-profile players have left the established tours for the new eight-event series, which boasts a £200m prize fund.

Major winners Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson are among those to have joined Poulter and fellow British players Lee Westwood and Paul Casey in joining LIV.

'I'm being asked questions there are no right answers to'

McIlroy's compatriot Graeme McDowell, who also signed up to the series, said on Monday there was "no doubt" that money was the the main reason for players to sign up.

"I understand why guys have went," McIlroy said.

"Especially the guys who are in the latter stages of their career, and if I was in their position I'd seriously have to think about doing the same thing, like I understand.

"It's the younger guys to me that it's hard to understand because I feel like they're losing a few years of their competitive career for monetary reasons.

"Again, that's totally fine and justifiable if that's what your goals and ambitions are, but that's just different to what I would do."

Rory McIlroy: 'They've made their bed' - World number three on LIV golfers

Much of the headlines surrounding the LIV series have centred around the huge sums of money that participants are receiving - with £200m in prize money up for grabs across the eight events.

It is fronted by former world number one Greg Norman, chief executive of LIV Golf Investments, of which Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) is the majority shareholder.

"I understand people's reservations with everything but at the same time if these people are serious about investing billions of dollars into golf, I think ultimately that's a good thing but it has to be done in the right way," McIlroy continued.

"If they were to invest, have it be invested inside of the existing structures and I think that's the thing I've tried to advocate for in these last few months.

"I think at this point if people are wanting to spend that much money in the game of golf that's wonderful.

"I just wish that we could have got to a point where they were spending that money with the existing structure that has existed for many decades within golf instead of being this big disruptor."

McIlroy, back on Irish soil for the two-day JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor, also confirmed he would play next year's Irish Open for the first time in five years, with the event returning to the K Club where he triumphed in 2016.


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