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LIV Golf is “goading” the PGA Tour by scheduling its first event in the same week as the Canadian Open, Rory McIlroy claimed.

The controversial Saudi-backed rebel tour begins this afternoon at Centurion Club in St Albans – the same day as one of the oldest events on the established circuit gets under way in Canada.

Several big names have eschewed the Canadian Open in order to play in the LIV Series, with a few giving up their tour memberships altogether.

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And the breakaway circuit has faced criticism for scheduling events opposite some of golf’s most prestigious tournaments.

Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy will play in Canada, having made his opposition to the LIV Series clear.

The former world No.1 admitted he believes the current power struggle will “fracture” the game at the top level.

“It’s sort of goading the PGA Tour into allowing releases for that event,” McIlroy said when asked about the scheduling.

“There’s a lot of things that they have done that don’t make sense to me. It’s very hard for me to put myself in their mind and think things through logically and get to the place where they have got to.

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“It’s a shame that it’s going to fracture the game. The professional game is the window shop into golf. If the general public are confused about who is playing where and what tournament’s on this week and who is, you know, oh, he plays there, okay, and he doesn’t get into these events. It just becomes so confusing.

“I think everything needs to try to become more cohesive and I think it was on a pretty good trajectory until this happened.”

Two-time major champion Dustin Johnson was among those to resign their PGA Tour memberships in order to play in the LIV Series.

Johnson was also dropped by long-term sponsor RBC – the title sponsor of the Canadian Open.

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