As the distraction of the new Saudi-backed LIV golf tour begins, the PGA Tour has been dreaming of a weekend in Canada with Rory McIlroy winning.
TORONTO, ON – The PGA Tour earned an impressive result at the RBC Canadian Open on Sunday with world number 3 and the face of the tour, Rory McIlroy taking the win in the event.
That same weekend, the Saudi-funded LIV Golf Tour kicked off in London with its own event.
McIlroy has been one of the strongest opponents of the LIV Golf Series and has spoken out against the money being paid to players like Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson. Greg Norman, who runs LIV Golf, said in a Washington Post article that McIlroy had been “brainwashed” by the PGA Tour.
“I had an extra drive for what’s going on across the pond,” McIlroy said. “The guy leading that tour had 20 wins on the PGA Tour and I was attached to him and I wanted to get ahead of him. And I did. So, that was really cool for me, just a little bit of a sense of pride in that.”
It was a dig at Norman, who won 20 career rounds.
A day after LIV Golf finished its 54-hole event with Charles Schwartzell winning $4.75 million ($4 million for his scores, $750,000 as part of the winning team), the Canadian Open had massive crowds with thousands around the 18 green.
Last day’s leaderboard included big names like McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Tony Finau, Sam Burns and Justin Rose. A much-needed response on the course from the PGA Tour the same weekend LIV started.
In the Locked On Sports Today podcast, Josh Neighbors and Peter Bukowski discuss McIlroy’s win, what it means for the PGA Tour, and what it means for LIV Golf.
Neighbors, like many others, criticized PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan and his lack of response during the first week of LIV Golf. Manahan appeared on CBS on Sunday to discuss the developments.
“The PGA Tour has had some issues. Jay Monahan hasn’t addressed any of them. Everyone points out, though, to the PGA Tour that the best players in the world are staying on the PGA Tour,” said Rory McIlroy. “Guys who want to win, people who want to beat The best in the world, on the PGA Tour. That’s the big story for me this weekend.”
The Saudi General Fund has committed tens of billions of dollars to this round of golf. We saw the players in London last weekend for their first LIV tournament and they were asked the tough questions about playing in the Saudi government-backed league. And it doesn’t look like they’re going away. How long will this last?
Neighbors said, “I think it’s going to go on. Dustin Johnson could ignore that forever. But if we’re talking about his golf legacy, he’s going to get bogged down in it. This is a guy who has all the talent in the world, a former number one, multiple major champion and must achieve More. But he took the bag of money. I wouldn’t get mad at a guy like Kevin Na who would take the money. But guys like DJ, Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson… These are the big stars who get the money. And keep asking questions. Because these guys are They don’t have strong defenses for why they play, and they never will be.”
Now PGA Tour players and LIV Golf players come together in Boston this week for the US Open at The Country Club, where Phil Mickelson plays after skipping the Masters and PGA Championship amid backlash from his earlier comments about the Saudis and the PGA Tour. Other LIV players including Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Sergio Garcia, Kevin Na, and others, are also in the US Open.
The Associated Press contributed to this article