Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas, both members of the world’s top-10, took a stand against the new Saudi-backed golf league (LIV) on Wednesday, calling it a “disgrace” for the sport.
The Northern Irishman and the American were speaking on the eve of the first round of the RBC Canadian Open, counting for the PGA Tour, and the first tournament of the LIV Golf league, which also begins Thursday in London, with a nice tray.
“It’s shameful that this League is about to fracture our sport,” said McIlroy, a former world No. 1 and multiple Major winner. “Professional golf is the showcase of our sport. If the public is confused to the point of not knowing who is playing where, and which tournament is taking place this week, the confusion will grow,” he added.
The new series will offer $25 million in prize money per event, eight times a year. Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia have already announced their participation in London, and other Major winners, such as Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau, could join them in July, for the debut of LIV Golf in the United States.
“It’s a shame if these guys (one day) are no longer on the PGA Tour,” added Justin Thomas, winner of his second PGA Championship last month, referring without quoting the penalties already announced, but not specified by the supreme authority of American and world golf.
The PGA Tour circuit “has been there for a very long time,” also pleaded Thomas, one of Tiger Woods’ best friends on the circuit. The Tiger, according to some American media, would have refused a crazy sum offered to him by LIV Golf, whose general manager is former Australian champion Greg Norman.
Five of the ten best players in the world will take part in the Canada Open this week, including world number 1 Scottie Scheffler, winner of the last Masters: “Nothing has really changed here, we have the best players in the world. I don’t really know what’s going on there (in London),” Scheffler joked.