McIlroy 'wasted a lot of energy' backing PGA Tour in LIV row

By Sports Desk June 07, 2023

Andrew 'Beef' Johnston feels Rory McIlroy "wasted a lot of energy" in his staunch support of the PGA Tour.

McIlroy was one of the biggest opponents of the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series, which lured huge names from the PGA Tour, including Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Cameron Smith and Bryson DeChambeau.

Yet in a shocking turn of events this week, it was announced that the PGA Tour and DP World Tour (formerly the European Tour) had merged with LIV Tour's backers – Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF).

That has left McIlroy, who said he still "hates LIV" in an awkward position, and Johnston feels the world number three has expended unnecessary energy defending the PGA Tour.

"Potentially, I think in some respect it could help him because I think he's just going to turn around and say, 'Alright, I'm going to concentrate and I'm going to do me'," said Johnston in an interview with Stats Perform.

"And that's what he should [do]. I've kind of been hoping Rory would do that. He shouldn't have to get involved and back the PGA Tour as hard as he has.

"I think he's wasted a lot of energy on that and I'd love to just see him focus on golf and pick up more titles and more majors because he's one of the best golfers we've seen.

"I just want to see him concentrate on his golf. So hopefully he gets through this meeting and he just goes, 'Do you know what I'm looking forward, just let it be.' And he can crack on. I'd like to see him do that, to be honest."

Reflecting on the news, Johnston said: "It's just insane. It's nuts. For what, two years, it's been so far away from that, so far away from doing that.

"I think I was talking about it a week ago or so. I said 'There's never ever going to be a deal because there's lawsuits going on and everything's kicking off, and no one will budge at all'. And all of a sudden, bang! That news comes out of the blue. And when I mean out of the blue, I don't think anyone knew.

"I don't even think Tiger [Woods] or Rory knew. I mean if they don't know that none of us are going to know."

Asked if it was a positive step for the sport, Johnston said: "It depends how they format it.

"If they format it where a player can tee up on any of the three tours knowing that if I have a good couple of seasons I can get into the Ryder Cup, I could get into LIV or however they're going to format the tournaments, and there's a way that you could be rewarded for playing good golf and getting into these high money bonus events, which I'm sure is going to happen, then great.

"There's going to be a lot of unhappy people and a lot of unhappy players right now. My first thoughts are people who have backed the tour, like Rory and Jon Rahm, people like that, and they've turned down a hell of a lot of money.

"They really propped the Tour and backed the Tour only to be sort of stabbed in the back. Absolutely blindsided by this. I can't imagine how they're feeling, they've got to be absolutely fuming about it."

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