Rory McIlroy sends “massive risk” warning to Saudi stars

Rory Mc Ilroy Saudi Golf League

Quitting the established tours to join the Saudi Golf League would be a “massive risk” for the game’s young stars, warned Rory McIlroy. 

Vast sums are reportedly on offer to players who quit the PGA and DP World tours in favour of the breakaway circuit. 

Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Bryson DeChambeau are among those to have been approached, with the latter said to have been offered $240 million to be the face of the venture. 

McIlroy acknowledged the financial lure could be too great for those in the twilight of their careers. 

• Tour pro urges stars to donate Saudi cash

• DeChambeau "will join Saudi Golf League"

However, with the threat of lifetime bans from the established tours and the Ryder Cup, the four-time major winner questioned why any young pro would make the switch. 

“Especially for the younger guys, it just seems like a massive risk. I can maybe make sense of it for the guys who are getting into the latter stages of their career for sure. I don’t think that’s what a rival golf league is going to want. They don’t want some sort of league that’s a pre-Champions Tour. 

“I understand the financial part of it for guys who are later on in their career, but you look at the people who have already said no: Rahm, No.1 in the world, Collin Morikawa, myself. The top players in the world are saying no so that has to tell you something.” 

Speaking at the Genesis Invitational, McIlroy also shot down Mickelson’s astonishing rant where he took aim at PGA Tour bosses for not giving players control of their own media rights. 

• Tour pro makes huge Saudi Golf League claims

• Chamblee: Phil is 'highly paid puppet'  

“What do the NBA do, what does the NFL do, what does the MLB do?,” he said. 

“There may be little things they could be more flexible on, but the whole structure of it – the domestic media rights deal that just came in is a huge deal, and if the tour don’t have that control they don’t bring in all that money. 

“I can get some of the frustrations from some guys in terms of some more flexibility here and there, but in terms of the overall structure it’s what every other sports organisation does.”  

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