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“If LIV Golf was the last place on Earth to play golf, I would retire. That’s how I feel about it.”
That was Rory McIlroy’s damning response to the outrageous proposal that would see him own a LIV Golf team and play in 10 events on the Saudi-based circuit.
The remarkable 276-page trove of documents obtained by Congress and released on Tuesday exposed plans for both McIlroy and Woods to play significant roles in LIV’s future, as details emerged over negotiations for the shock framework deal between the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
McIlroy and Woods, golf’s most important voices and most prominent LIV critics, were included in a “Best of Both Worlds” proposal from the Saudi side, namely the firm owned by Amanda Staveley, who helped broker the deal for PIF to buy Newcastle United.
But there was no indication whatsoever in the documents that PGA Tour loyalists Woods and McIlroy had any knowledge that they were part of these plans.
McIlroy, who reiterated that he “hates” LIV following the shock June 6 announcement of the so-called merger, declined to speak to the written press about the latest bombshell development before beginning his Genesis Scottish Open campaign at the Renaissance Club in North Berwick on Thursday.
But the Northern Irishman made his disdain for LIV crystal clear after a fine six-under opening round 64 on the East Lothian Links on Thursday morning.
McIlroy, a PGA Tour Policy Board member, has consciously stepped away from merger talk since admitting to feeling somewhat of a “sacrificial lamb” when the framework agreement was reached.
He led the fight against the threat of LIV, before discovering that PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan had signed a deal with the Saudi chiefs who bankroll the fledgling circuit.
“As long as I get to play golf, I’m happy. Quite a bit of apathy towards everything at the minute,’’ McIlroy added, discussing the explosive US Senate subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill.
“There wasn’t a lot of new information in there for me. There was going to be some new information for other people.
“As I said, I’ve almost been too close the last year and a bit. So nice to be able to try to distance myself a bit.’’
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