Rory McIlroy calls for LIV chief Greg Norman to GO to put an end to golf’s civil war – insisting the sport would benefit from an ‘adult in the room’ who can ‘mend fences’ between the PGA and Saudi-backed tour
- Rory McIlroy has called for Greg Norman to step down as CEO of the LIV tour
- McIlroy believes golf’s civil war will continue until Norman steps down as chief
- The Saudi-backed breakaway LIV tour is still causing friction with the PGA tour
- The golfer insisted the sport would benefit from having an ‘adult in the room’
Rory McIlroy says there will be no end to golf’s civil war until Greg Norman leaves his post with the LIV circuit and allows an ‘adult into the room’.
While McIlroy believes a time has come for dialogue between the new and old factions of his sport, in his latest fiery contribution to the saga he admitted he cannot foresee a workable co-existence so long as the Australian remains at the LIV helm.
His comments come at a time when rumours are growing that Norman, the CEO of the Saudi-backed breakaway tour, could soon be repurposed, with the circuit having expanded rapidly in its first season through his particular brand of disruption.
Rory McIlroy has called for Greg Norman to leave his post as CEO of the Saudi-backed LIV tour
The success of LIV in gate-crashing the golfing landscape should not be underestimated, which has been necessitated to an extent by Norman’s fire-starter approach.
But as they seek legitimacy via the courts, with one crucial aim being the granting of world ranking points, it seems imperative that some level of peace is struck between LIV and their rivals, the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour.
Speaking ahead of the latter’s Tour Championship in Dubai, McIlroy said: ‘I think there’s a few things that need to happen.
‘So there’s obviously two lawsuits going on at the minute – there’s PGA TOUR versus LIV and there’s this one that’s coming up with the DP World Tour in February. Nothing will happen if those two things are still going on.
Norman, 67, pioneered the controversial breakaway series which is at odds with the PGA tour
‘And then I think from whatever happens with those two things, there’s a few things that I would like to see on the LIV side that needs to happen. I think Greg needs to go. I think he just needs to exit stage left.
‘He’s made his mark but 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”.
‘If those two things happen, then things can happen. But right now, it’s a stalemate because there can’t be any other way. Hopefully something can happen, who knows.
‘One is a very different product to the other, and they are just going to keep going whether something happens and whether that’s in the hand of a court or a judge or something else happens along the way, no one really knows. Right now it seems like it’s a bit of a stalemate.’
Norman and PGA Tour chief Jay Monahan (pictured) have been at war since LIV’s inception
Neither Norman nor his opposite number at the PGA Tour Jay Monahan has given up much ground in the hostilities since LIV launched earlier this year. Norman even took the audacious step this week of suggesting McIlroy and Tiger Woods should ‘thank’ LIV for the shake-up that has in turn sparked elevated prize funds on the PGA Tour.
Bemused, McIlroy replied on Tuesday: ‘As with anything that Greg says, and that comment, it depends what you’re looking for out of golf. Am I thankful that it’s provided more opportunities for the top players to earn more? Yes.
‘But ultimately will that make me happier at the end of my career? No. There’s a lot of things that people play golf for and do their jobs for, and it’s not just about money. It’s about other things. It’s about fulfilment. It’s about trying to get the best out of yourself. It’s about the satisfaction of turning up and trying to play to your potential.
‘You know, those are the things that certainly made me the happiest about playing golf. So to some people, they might play for other reasons. But for me, I’m happiest when I’m playing my best and doesn’t matter how much I’m going to make. Sporting achievements are the things that get me going.’
McIlroy wants Norman to leave because he feels golf would benefit from an ‘adult in the room’
He added: ‘I’m very thankful for everyone in golf, and I’ve said this a million times: Tiger is the reason that we are playing for as much as we are playing for. 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.’
McIlroy is this week pushing to be only the second player to win Europe’s Tour Championship and that of the PGA Tour in the same season. He also holds a slim lead over New Zealand’s Ryan Fox in the order of merit going into the decider.