Rory McIlroy says that the golfers participating in this inaugural Saudi-funded LIV Golf tournament are doing it for “boatloads” of cash.
According to reports, major champions Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson were paid $150m and $200m respectively to participate in the fledgling series.
McIlroy defends his Canadian Open title on the PGA Tour.
He said that everyone knows why they are playing in London this week for the LIV golf event.
It’s a boatload of cash, and money upfront. It’s enticing for some guys, and I can get it.
This week, Centurion Club in London hosts the first tournament of the eight-event $250m LIV Golf Invitational series.
This tournament is one of the most lucrative in the world. It has a prize pool of $25m, with $4m going to the winner, and $120,000 going to the last 48 players.
Greg Norman, former world number one, is leading LIV Golf. He claims he has received additional funding from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund of PS1.6bn to make the series a 14-event league in 2024.
McIlroy from Northern Ireland reiterated his desire not to participate in the series, but he called on the game’s top administrators to “get into a room and figure out”
Norman claims he wants his new venture run alongside the existing tours. Despite repeated attempts, Norman has denied that he had spoken to Jay Monahan, PGA Tour commissioner.
Monahan stated in March that the tour would “not be distracted” by rumours about other golf leagues. The PGA Tour threatened to ban members of its LIV Golf events. Norman called the threat “anti-golfers, anti-fans and anti-competitive”.
McIlroy stated that “I feel like the pro game was on an interesting trajectory, where everything was becoming more coherent and now it’s becoming less cohesive again. I don’t believe that’s good for anyone.”
“I understand why they play. They are thinking in the short-term, which I don’t think is a problem. Everyone has to do the right thing for themselves, and who is to argue otherwise?
McIlroy admitted that he had accepted appearance fees in order to play at tournaments worth less than the prize for winning.
He said, “The first few time, I felt a bit flat.” “I felt that I didn’t have to try, because I had already earned the money. That didn’t work out very well. My career was a learning curve. I learned early that it is important to show up and give 100% to try and win the tournament.
His European Ryder Cup teammates Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, and Graeme McDowell were among those present at the LIV Golf Field this week, putting their futures at risk in the biennial event.