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Rory McIlroy has admitted that he regrets positioning himself at the heart of the PGA Tour’s fight with LIV Golf.

The world No.3 has been arguably the most vocal critic of the Saudi-funded golf league since it appeared on the professional golf radar two years ago.

He has since softened his stance somewhat, insisting that working with, rather than against, its PIF bankrollers is in the tour’s best interests.

However, as the one-year anniversary of a proposed merger between the warring factions approaches, McIlroy concedes that playing such an active a role in the battle – a role that left him feeling like a “sacrificial lamb” – was probably a bad move.

Speaking ahead of this week’s RBC Canadian Open, he said: “In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t have gotten involved or not ‘hadn’t have gotten involved’ but hadn’t have gotten as deeply involved in it, and I’ve articulated that.

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“I’ve said that I hold no grudge to the guys that chose to go and play on LIV. Everyone’s got their own decisions to make, and everyone has the right to make those decisions.

“My whole thing is I’m just disappointed what it’s done to – not to the game of golf, the game of golf will be fine – but men’s professional golf and this sort of divide we have at the minute.

“Hopefully, we’re on a path to sorting that out and getting that to come back together, but, yeah, hindsight’s always 20/20, but in hindsight I wish I hadn’t got as deeply involved as I have.”

McIlroy also paid tribute to Grayson Murray, the two-time PGA Tour winner who took his own life last week.

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The pair had previously had their differences but McIlroy insisted Murray’s death “puts everything in perspective”.

“At the end of the day, you know, golf is golf and we play it for a living, but it pales in comparison to the things that actually matter in life,” he said.

“I’ve had to realise that at times and I’m still sort of working my way through that in terms of not making golf the be-all end-all for me.

“I think it slaps you in the face when something like that happens last week.

“It’s incredibly sad and everyone has to remember out here that we go out and we do things that a lot of people can’t, but at the end of the day we’re still human beings, and we’re vulnerable and we’re fragile.

“I think if there’s a lesson for anyone out there it’s just to be kinder to each other.”

author headshot

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 is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. 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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