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When Rory McIlroy and Cam Smith were paired together for the opening round of the Tour Championship, golf fans were on standby for tension.

After all, Smith is on the brink of being announced as LIV Golf’s next marquee signing, while McIlroy has openly criticised the Saudi-backed venture.

But anyone watching Thursday’s events at East Lake in the hope of seeing unpleasantness would have been disappointed.

“Cam and I get on really well,” McIlroy said.

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“Always have done. Again, I keep saying, no matter what decisions are made or what choices are made by anyone, it doesn’t make them a bad person.

“Does it make me disagree with them? Of course it does. But I disagree with a lot of people that I like and love.

“It’s business as usual. If anything, he’s a really good guy to play with because he plays pretty quick and he has a nice rhythm. So it’s a nice pairing.”

McIlroy was at the forefront of radical changes announced by the PGA Tour earlier this week in an attempt to combat the LIV threat.

He and Tiger Woods founded TMRW Sports, the company behind the TGL, a new tech-led stadium golf venture in partnership with the tour.

The four-time major winner revealed he had spoken to Smith just two days after the Open about the direction the circuit is heading.

“Guys that are thinking one way or another, honestly I don’t care if they leave or not. It’s not going to make a difference to me,” he said.

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“But I would at least like people to make a decision that is completely informed and basically know this is what’s coming down the pipeline. This is what you may be leaving behind.

“I just don’t want people hearing information from one side and not from another. So I think that’s sort of been my whole thing this entire time. I’ve always said guys can do whatever they want. Guys can make a decision that they feel is best for themselves and their families. But I want guys to make decisions based on all of the facts.

“Sometimes I don’t think some guys made those decisions based on having all the facts in front of them.”

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