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Rory McIlroy’s strong rebuttal of rumours that he would ever join LIV Golf may have provided some relief for those at PGA Tour HQ. 

The Northern Irishman told ESPN he is too much of a “traditionalist” to leave the US circuit and says Greg Norman’s breakaway league is “not for me”, despite softening his stance on its position in the game.

So McIlroy won’t be going anywhere, but could more of his PGA Tour colleagues jump ship for LIV after the lucrative signings of Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton?

The game remains divided whilst the PGA Tour and Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF) – which bankrolls LIV – allegedly aim to thrash out a deal following last June’s framework agreement.

Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth have both suggested the PGA Tour can push on without PIF, following a US conglomerate’s $1.5billion investment in the organisation’s new commercial entity named PGA Tour Enterprises.

• Rory McIlroy reveals why he won’t join LIV Golf

• Tiger Woods handed major role on new PGA Tour board

But the Tour’s player director Webb Simpson believes a deal must be struck, not least to stop LIV coaxing more of his circuit’s most high-profile stars.

“Very dangerous,” Simpson said about the possibility of moving away from the PIF deal. “I think we’re in a position where we want to do the right deal.

“We don’t want to just do a deal because we’re afraid that the LIV tour might recruit more players. That’s certainly a fear. But I think it’s obvious. The writing is on the wall. We’re not in a position where we need to do a deal for money. We need to do a deal for the good of the game. And for the health of the PGA Tour long-term. That’s my hope.”

The former US Open champion also feels golf is suffering with a split talent pool.

• Jon Rahm urges majors to consider ‘left out’ LIV Golf star

• Viktor Hovland: LIV Golf absence ‘devalues’ world rankings 

“One thing I’m certain of is fans, players, media, sponsors alike all feel strongly that the game is divided,” he added.

“The game has been divided for a year and a half now. The game misses the personalities of LIV. I think the game misses the personalities of LIV and the PGA Tour playing together.

“I don’t know what the players playing for LIV want. I think they’re very happy where they are. I think they’re very happy with the decisions they’ve made. But I’ve heard from enough people who have grown a little distasteful with the current state of golf.

“When you come to big tournaments like the Arnold Palmer Invitational, you want to know the guy who won beat most or all of the best players.”

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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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