The PGA Tour and LIV Golf, which is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, have not come to final terms on a deal to bring the two entities’ assets together.
The emergence of LIV Golf disrupted the golf world, but the previously announced merger deal seemed to soften some detractors’ stances on the controversial circuit. Although doubts about a deal being finalized seem to grow as the weeks and months pass.
But after months of disagreements, two of the biggest stars in the sport appear to be letting cooler heads prevail. Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy recently admitted that he was “too judgmental” when he made comments about some of the golfers who decided to sign on with LIV Golf.
“I think, at this point, I was maybe a little judgmental of the guys who went to LIV Golf at the start, and I think it was a bit of a mistake on my part, because I now realize that not everyone is in my position or in Tiger Woods’ position,” McIlroy told the “Stick to Football” podcast.
“We all turn professional to make a living playing the sports that we do, and I think that’s what I realized over the last two years. I can’t judge people for making that decision.”
Phil Mickelson, who is the LIV Golf captain, showed his support for McIlroy by encouraging fans to avoid piling up on the Northern Irishman. Mickelson also suggested that now was the time for hostilities to be put to the side.
“This quote and the many others made today by Rory probably weren’t easy to say,” Mickelson wrote on social media Wednesday. “Let’s not use this as an opportunity to pile on. Rather, it’s time for me and others to let go of our hostilities and work toward a positive future.”
Mickelson has been vocal about his criticism of the PGA Tour. He previously suggested that LIV’s acquisition of Jon Rahm would help fixed the fractured relationship between the two sides. Rahm earned the iconic green jacket at the 2023 Masters Tournament.
“[Rahm’s] signing is turning into a bridge to bring both sides together, as evidenced by the many comments today and a month ago about changing the rules for the Ryder Cup so Jon and others can play, so let’s use it as such,” Mickelson said. “Until an agreement is reached it will be business as usual for both sides but hopefully without the needless disdain.”
Mickelson and McIlroy have publicly traded jabs over the past few months. Shortly after McIlroy failed to make the cut at Augusta National, Mickelson took to social media and hinted that LIV’s schedule would be a better fit for the former world number one golfer. McIlroy is currently ranked No. 2 in the world golf rankings.
“Problem is I don’t think there’s a team that wants him on it because they’d have to deal with all his bs,” Mickelson wrote at the time.
After an allegation that Mickelson attempted to wager around $400,000 on the 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup surfaced in a book, McIlroy took it as an opportunity to take a dig at the left-handed LIV Golf captain.
“At least he can bet on the Ryder Cup this year, because he won’t be a part of it,” McIlroy said at the time.
The pending deal and Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund are expected to be finalized at some point in 2024.
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