Rory McIlroy questions the quality of the LIV Invitational Golf Series – but understands the appeal of players


Rory McIlroy understands the allure of the lucrative Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series

Rory McIlroy says the first LIV Golf Invitational Series event field is “nothing to jump and drop” compared to the series on the PGA Tour.

Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Louis Oosthuizen and Ian Poulter are among the 42 players confirmed to take part in next week’s Saudi-funded event in Hertfordshire.

McIlroy said there were “some surprises there” when asked about the competition before his appearance at the PGA Tour Memorial Tournament this week in Ohio.

The first LIV Golf Invitational Series event at the Centurion Club boasts a prize money of £ 20 million, with the winner being awarded £ 3 million. McIlroy understands people, especially older golfers, play for money, but says it is no longer “something I will do”.

The Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series kicks off in Hertfordshire next week, with Dustin Johnson's surprising inclusion in the course.

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The Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series kicks off in Hertfordshire next week, with Dustin Johnson’s surprising inclusion in the course.

The Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series kicks off in Hertfordshire next week, with Dustin Johnson’s surprising inclusion in the course.

The four-time winner said: “I definitely do not think this field is something to jump on and off.

“Look at the field this week [at the Memorial Tournament]. See the field next week in Canada. These are proper golf tournaments.

“I have some very close friends who play in this event and I definitely do not want to stand in their way until they do what they feel is right for themselves.

“It is definitely not something I would do personally. But I sure understand why some guys leave.

“When I became a professional, I played for money. All I wanted to do was get my tour ticket and make a living by playing golf. You need a job and you need to earn money to buy a home for yourself.

Paul McGinley says Dustin Johnson's decision to take part in the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series could be a

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Paul McGinley says Dustin Johnson’s decision to take part in the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series could be a “historic moment in the game”.

Paul McGinley says Dustin Johnson’s decision to take part in the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series could be a “historic moment in the game”.

Do I have to play golf for money now? no. My situation has changed over the years. But when I started playing the game professionally, yes, money was at the top of the list.

“Some players are in a position where they will not get a job next year. It’s hard to stay in the top 125, especially if you’re in your forties and probably don’t hit the ball as much as you’re used to, as we’ve seen, it’s a youngster’s game these days.

“So when another entity comes and says, ‘We’ll guarantee you this for three years,’ plus you play for a lot of prize money, you play fewer events and you can spend more time with your family. It’s very attractive to some of these guys who are in this situation.

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“Again, I’m not in that position, and that’s not something I would do. But you have to try to put yourself in the shoes of others and see where they come from. ”

LIV Golf in Hertfordshire clashed between June 9 and 11 with the PGA Tour’s Canadian Open, which McIlroy won when it was previously organized in 2019.

The PGA and DP World Tours have refused player requests to join the Centurion Club, and golfers performing functions could face a ban.

Scotty Scheffler, world number 1, says he fully understands why the PGA Tour players are refusing to play in next week's Saudi golf tournament in Hertfordshire.

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World number one Scotty Scheffler says he fully understands why PGA Tour players are refusing to play in next week’s Saudi golf tournament in Hertfordshire.

World number one Scotty Scheffler says he fully understands why PGA Tour players are refusing to play in next week’s Saudi golf tournament in Hertfordshire.

Asked if the PGA Tour “should drop the hammer” in terms of heavy penalties, McIlroy said: “I definitely do not think they should.

“Look, they have their rights to enforce the rules and regulations that have been introduced. But it will ultimately argue about what those rules and regulations are. ”

Watch The Memorial Tournament live on Sky Sports Golf via the red button on Thursday afternoon at 12:00. Coverage on Sky Sports Golf’s main channel begins at 5 p.m.

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