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Rory McIlroy has reiterated his hope that the PGA Tour’s alliance with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia will “neutralise” the threat of LIV Golf.

The four-time major champion was speaking to Golf Weekly’s Off The Ball podcast ahead of this week’s Irish Open at The K Club.

A long-standing and vocal critic of the Greg Norman-fronted upstart league, McIlroy admitted to feeling like a ‘sacrificial lamb’ when news of the PGA Tour and DP World Tour’s intention to merge operations with LIV was revealed in June.

However, he has since softened his position somewhat – albeit not about LIV itself.

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“The only thing I would say about the PIF investments in other sports is that they went in and played with the ecosystems of those other sports,” said McIlroy.

“They didn’t try to buy F1, they didn’t try to buy the Premier League. Yes, they bought a Premier League football club in Newcastle and it’s worked out really well for them.

“The way I’ve looked at it is if the PIF are really interested in golf and they want to get in the system, at least if we provide them with a pathway to play within the system where they are not taking over the sport.

“It neutralises any threat of LIV becoming something that it hopefully shouldn’t become. And they play within the boundaries that are set within our sport, and we all go from there.”

McIlroy also used his pre-event media commitments to give his endorsement to Luke Donald’s decision to pick Swedish rookie Ludvig Aberg for this month’s Ryder Cup.

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Aberg was given one of Donald’s six wild cards, despite only having turned professional three months ago. And whilst he won the final qualifying event, last weekend’s Omega European Masters, some have suggested that this year’s match has come too soon for him.

McIlroy disagrees.

“There were a few of us who were saying that it was a no-brainer but people hadn’t seen him play in Europe and then he comes over and finishes fourth and wins in Switzerland,” he told BBC Sport Northern Ireland.

“The people over here who maybe were a little bit sceptical about it all realised what the hype was all about. He’s probably got one of my favourite swings in the world.”

He added: “I thought we were going to have a really tough time [in this year’s Ryder Cup] but the closer we’ve got to the cup, the more I’m liking what the team has become.”

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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael has also authored three books. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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