World No. 1 Rory McIlroy has made it no secret that he’s not a fan of LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman. On Tuesday, he made that opinion crystal clear as he prepares to compete at the DP World Tour Championship. Speaking to the media ahead of the European finale, which McIlroy seeks to capture across from his FedEx Cup crown on the PGA Tour, the 33-year-old laid out what he believes needs to occur for peace to be reached in the world of men’s golf.
“There’s a few things that I would like to see on the LIV side that needs to happen,” McIlroy said. “I think Greg [Norman] needs to go. I think he needs to just exit stage left. Look, he’s made his mark, I think now is the right time to sort of say, ‘Look, you’ve got this thing off the ground, but no one is going to talk unless there’s an adult in the room that can actually try to mend fences.'”
Norman, the current CEO and figurehead for LIV Golf, has been at the center of headlines in recent weeks; the Telegraph recently reported on a potential departure from his current position with the rival league. That report was later denied by Majed Al Sorour, CEO of the Saudi Golf Federation and leader of Saudi Golf, and the Australian has since been vocal of LIV’s success and the debt of gratitude he believes those on the PGA Tour owe.
“Every PGA Tour player should be thanking LIV, including Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, because the PIP program wouldn’t have been increased without LIV,” said Norman. “Prize money wouldn’t have been increased without LIV, all these other things that have been introduced by the PGA Tour because of LIV. Competition is the best thing in life, in business and in sport. LIV is not going to go anywhere. LIV is just going to get better and better and better, and LIV Golf has only just begun.”
This direct assertion from Norman may have been the cog for McIlroy’s plea for his removal. Later asked whether this claim was warranted, the Northern Irishman couldn’t help but let out a chuckle.
“I’ve said this a million times: Tiger is the reason that we are playing for as much as we are playing for,” McIlroy said. “Tiger is the reason that stature of our game is where it is. The generation of Tiger and the generation coming after Tiger have all benefited from him and his achievements and what he’s done for the game of golf.
“I don’t think Tiger should be thankful to anyone for anything. I think everyone else in the game should be thankful.”
LIV Golf and the PGA Tour — as well as the DP World Tour — are currently in battle not only on the golf course but also in the courtroom. With an antitrust lawsuit from LIV Golf claiming the PGA Tour illegally suspended players for competing in LIV Golf events, and a countersuit from the PGA Tour claiming LIV interfered with player contracts still needing to reach their conclusion, it is clear no movement in potential peace talks will be made until those are put to rest.
“It’s obviously been a very contentious year in golf,” McIlroy said. “And I’ve said this: The best thing for golf is to have all the best players playing together, and what’s happening right now, that’s not happening. So I fear for the game when that’s going on.
“It’s contentious because there’s lawsuits going on and people suing people; it’s very, very messy. So again, if all that stuff can be sorted out one way or the other, then you can get to the stage where there’s forgiveness and people can have dialogue and come to some sort of common ground or compromise. But again, once all this is happening, it’s very hard to do that.”