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Rory McIlroy passionately speaks out against ‘money grab’ Super League

Colin Morikawa

“I don’t see why anyone would be for it.”

Rory McIlroy has strongly reaffirmed his stance against a golfing Super League with the four-time major winner labelling the proposed competition a ‘money grab’.

The Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday night that several big-name golfers, including world number one Dustin Johnson and US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau, had been offered lucrative contracts to join the Saudi-backed breakaway tour.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan had warned that golfers who signed up to the new venture would face suspensions from the main tour.

They first contacted me back in 2014 – McIlroy.

And McIlroy, who spoke out against the Premier Golf League in 2020, offered a thoughtful response when asked about the prospective new tour on Wednesday.

“They first contacted me back in 2014, so this is seven years down the line and nothing has really changed,” McIlroy said ahead of his return to action at the Wells Fargo Championship on Thursday.

“Maybe the source of the money has changed or the people that are in charge have changed, but nothing has happened.

“If you go back to what happened last week in Europe with the European Super League in football, people can see it for what it is, which is a money grab, which is fine if that’s what you’re playing golf for is to make as much money as possible. Totally fine, then go and do that if that’s what makes you happy.

“But I’m playing this game to try to cement my place in history and my legacy and to win major championships and to win the biggest tournaments in the world. I honestly don’t think there’s a better structure in place in golf, and I don’t think there will be.

“You have the strategic partnership as well between Europe and the PGA Tour and that’s only going to strengthen the structure of golf going forward as well in terms of scheduling and all sorts of other stuff and working together a little bit more.

‘I don’t see why anyone would be up for it.’

“I don’t think it was a coincidence that the news came out yesterday just as the PGA Tour was having their annual player meeting and Jay addressing the membership. Yeah, I think you all know my feelings on it and I’m very much against it. I don’t see why anyone would be for it.”

McIlroy again used the failed Super League football proposals as an example as he explained how such projects affect the ‘integrity of competition’.

The proposed competition would feature 40 of the world’s best golfers compete in 18 tournaments across the globe, with a possible team element similar to the Formula 1 circuit.

But McIlroy, who in February was elected chairman of the PGA Tour’s player advisory council for 2021, is more interested in shaping his legacy by winning major championships.

He said: “You have to protect your product, right? You have to protect what you have, because this is a competitive threat. Jay took us through it last night, and if I were in charge of the PGA Tour, I would do the same thing.

“You saw what happened last week with the European Super League. The top 12 clubs got together and said ‘Let’s keep more of the money for ourselves’, and people didn’t like that. It affects competition, it affects the integrity of competition. I just can’t see how it works.

World’s top golfers reportedly offered $30m to join Saudi-backed Super League

“It’s a complicated issue, but I just don’t see at this point how it can get going. And the possibility that people, if they do go in that direction, can’t play in the biggest tournaments in the game?

“The game of golf, whether it’s a right thing or a wrong thing, is so about history. We still talk about Gene Sarazen and Walter Hagen and Ben Hogan and all those guys because that’s what this game is. It’s steeped in history and the legacies that those guys have.

“If you move further away from that, you’re basically losing the essence of what competitive golf is. Again, that’s my stance on it and that’s been my stance for a long time. I just can’t see how it happens.”

McIlroy is teeing it up at Quail Hollow this week in his first tournament since missing the cut at the Masters.

The Northern Irishman has good memories at the North Carolina venue. In 2010, he won his first PGA Tour event there, and added a second title in 2015 (he also lost in a play-off in 2012).

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