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Rory McIlroy calls himself ‘sacrificial lamb’ amid PGA TOUR-LIV Golf merger chaos

The face of the PGA TOUR feels pretty betrayed by the LIV merger, and justifiably so.

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland takes part in the Pro-Am of the RBC Canadian Open at Oakdale Golf and Country Club on June 07, 2023 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy, who has arguably been the face of the PGA TOUR over the last year, sat down with the press after a pro-am in Toronto on Wednesday morning. McIlroy has been one of the most outspoken golfers in the rivalry between the PGA TOUR and the Saudi-backed LIV Golf throughout 2022 and 2023.

He has seemingly resigned to his fate after the announcement that the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour would be undergoing a merger with the Saudi Public Investment Fund, the group behind LIV.

McIlroy, like all of the other golfers on the PGA TOUR, said he did not know that this was in the works. He received a text from one of the deal’s facilitators, Jimmy Dunne, on Monday night, and a call on Tuesday morning when the news broke.

“It’s hard for me not to sit up here and feel somewhat like a sacrificial lamb and feeling like I’ve put myself out there,” McIlroy told the press.

However, amongst calls for PGA TOUR commissioner Jay Monahan to resign, McIlroy is still standing by him. He told reporters that he still had faith in Monahan as a commissioner, and said, “Technically anyone involved with LIV now would now answer to Jay. Whether you like it or not, the PIF were going to keep spending in golf. At least now you can control how the money is spent.”

“When I try to remove myself from the situation and I look at the bigger picture, I think ultimately this is going to be good for the game of professional golf. It unifies it and secures its future,” McIlroy added. He also said that he expected LIV Golf as we know it to be done for — the merger is not technically between the PGA and LIV, but between the PGA and LIV’s financial backers.

In the end, though, what other choice does he have? As McIlroy himself said, “I’ve come to terms with it. I’ve resigned myself to ... this is what’s going to happen. It’s very hard to keep up with people who have more money than anyone else.”