March 18, 2024

Rory McIlroy breaks silence on PGA Tour talks with Saudi Arabian group | Golf | Sport

Rory McIlroy has criticised Greg Norman over his handling of LIV Golf and surprisingly praised the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF). He said that Tiger Woods must be involved in talks between PGA Tour stars and the PIF, which are set to take place on Monday.

The PGA and DP World Tours are currently negotiating with the backers of LIV Golf to reach a permanent agreement that would end the ongoing dispute within golf. Patrick Cantlay, who is part of the PGA Tour policy board and ranked world No.7, revealed he is due to meet PIF and Newcastle boss Yasir Al-Rumayyan today for an introductory meeting.

After his final round at The Players Championship last night, McIlroy commented: “I think it should have happened months ago, so I am glad that it’s happening. Hopefully that progresses conversations and gets us closer to a solution.”

“I have spent time with Yasir. The people that have represented him in LIV I think have done him a disservice, (LIV boss Greg) Norman and those guys, fundamentally he wants to do the right thing.”, reports the Mirror.

“Look, they’re a sovereign wealth fund. They want to park money for decades and not worry about it. They want to invest in smart and secure businesses, and the PGA TOUR is definitely one of those, especially if they’re looking to invest in sport in some way.”

McIlroy stepped down from his role on the PGA Tour Board last year, but Woods remains as one of the six players, alongside Cantlay, Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott, Webb Simpson and Peter Malnati. Speaking about the 15-time Major winner, the world No.2 said: “He’s a player director. He’s on the board, so absolutely he needs to be involved.”

Earlier, Cantlay stated: “I’m going into the first meeting with the idea of listening a lot more than talking. I’m excited to hear all I’ll learn. I think more information is always better.”

PGA Tour boss Jay Monahan insisted that striking a deal with the Saudi PIF is “the best outcome” for golf last week but cautioned: “It’s going to take time.”

Monahan and new investors Strategic Sports Group – including Liverpool owners Fenway Sports – held talks in January with the Saudis led by Al-Rumayyan.

At TPC Sawgrass, 2019 champion McIlroy carded another five birdies – bringing his total to 26 – but also five bogeys in his level-par 72 to finish on nine-under par at the tournament.

The Ulsterman will next compete in the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio starting on April 4 – the week before his latest attempt to win the Masters. “I think I’m headed in the right direction,” he added.


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