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Scottie Scheffler is grateful that Rory McIlroy emerged as the unofficial spokesperson for the PGA Tour before his circuit’s shock merger with the Saudi Public Investment Fund.

Scheffler expressed his frustration that players have “no clarity” at the Renaissance Club before the Scottish Open last week in the wake of the top-secret ambiguous deal between golf’s warring factions.

The world No.1 was clearly irked that the US Senate hearing on Capitol Hill discussing the merger proposal lacked any fresh details.

Plenty of high-profile stars felt blindsided by the announcement framework deal, while McIlroy himself admitted to feeling like a “sacrificial lamb” after leading the fight against LIV Golf.

• McIlroy pulls out of Open press conference

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McIlroy is now distancing himself from the uncertainty surrounding golf’s new ecosystem and cancelled his press conference before his bid to end his long major drought in the Open here at Royal Liverpool.

But Scheffler has appreciated the Northern Irishman’s efforts to protect golf’s traditional establishment over the last 12 months.

“I think he’s done a good job,” Scheffler told reporters on Tuesday. “You have certain guys that like to be in that position and then other guys that like to avoid that kind of stuff.

“I’m glad that Rory seemed to be one of those guys that enjoyed it and put himself right in kind of the forefront of it. I wouldn’t say that’s necessarily my style. Yes, it matters to me, but I also like coming out here and competing. That’s my main focus typically.”

He then stressed: “Not that focusing on the mergers is a bad thing. We need people to be there, and Rory has done a great job – he is kind of one of the leaders for our Tour. But there’s also a number of other players that have stepped up, as well.

“We’re all trying to do our best to help improve the Tour. It’s just some people I would say would do more of it sitting here versus behind the scenes, and that’s just how people want to go about their business.”

Scheffler, alongside McIlroy, is one of the strong pre-tournament favourites to win the Claret Jug on the Wirral come Sunday.

The Texan may not have won a major this season, but his year has been underpinned by incredible consistency, with 15 top-ten finishes in his last 19 starts.

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For a player who has reached the summit of the rankings, however, he has a distinct lack of links golf experience.

He played his first Open at Royal St George’s in 2021 and his first taste of the links test was at the Renaissance Club just a week earlier.

Not that his inexperience is likely to matter at Hoylake, though, following finishes of T8 and T21 in his first two Open starts.

“I really like it,” he said when asked about the links test. “Out here you can be extremely creative. Basically around this golf course if you just avoid the bunkers you can do whatever you want, but any time you’re in a bunker, I mean, it’s pretty much a stroke penalty they way the bunkers are shaped this week.”

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It is fair to say Scheffler is not a fan of the 81 different sand tramps strategically placed around the fairways and greens at Royal Liverpool.

“Anytime my ball is going towards a bunker I’m very nervous,” he admitted. “I’m just going to try and avoid the bunkers at all costs.

“At St. George’s a lot of the bunkers had a tiny bit of an upslope before you got to the wall face, and here it seems like the faces of every bunker is almost a downslope going towards it.

“I don’t think that’s something I particularly like in a golf course. It doesn’t reward the good shots as much. If you’re closer to the green you end up closer to the lip, and if you get a worse shot and barely get into the bunker you actually have a play. I would prefer if there was a little bit of slope there.

“But that’s what’s so special about the majors. Every golf course is different and it’s a challenge, and I’m just going to do my best to stay out of them this week.”


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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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