Rory McIlroy says he ‘made it his business to be a pain in Greg Norman’s a**e’ after the LIV Golf chief’s ‘brainwashed’ barb and reveals how his friendship with defector Sergio Garcia soured
Rory McIlroy has revealed Greg Norman’s comments in which the LIV Golf CEO called him ‘brainwashed’ by PGA Tour brass, was the catalyst for their war of words.
The Australian has been the polarizing head — acting as CEO and Commissioner — of the Saudi-backed circuit and has received barbs for Tour figureheads, not least Tiger Woods and McIlroy.
Following Norman’s disparaging remark, the Northern Irishman decided to become a thorn in the LIV chief’s side.
‘I thought, “You know what? I’m going to make it my business now to be as much of a pain in his a**e as possible,”‘ McIlroy told the Irish Independent.
Norman’s LIV Golf and the Tour have been engaged in a sporting civil war since the former’s conception.
Rory McIlroy has detailed why he has become such a thorn in the side of LIV CEO Greg Norman
Though there was a moment where McIlroy extended a peace offering of sorts after watching a documentary on Norman’s infamous collapse in the 1996 Masters.
‘Hopefully it reminds everyone of what a great golfer you were,’ the text from McIlroy read.
Norman had sent a similarly kind-hearted message to the 33-year-old after his own crumbling at the Masters eleven years ago.
‘He was great,’ McIlroy said. ‘So I said to him, ”Watching it reminded me of how you reached out to me in 2011, and I just want to say that I’ll always appreciate it. It meant a lot. I know our opinion on the game of golf right now is very different, but I just wanted you to know that and wish you all the best.”
Greg Norman sparked the war of words with North Irishman after calling him ‘brainwashed’
‘So, a bit of an olive branch, and he came back to be straightaway: “I really think golf can be a force for good around the world…I know our opinions are not aligned but I’m just trying to create more opportunities for every golfer around the world.”
‘Fine. Really nice,’ McIlroy replied. ‘Then, a couple of weeks later, he does an interview with The Washington Post and says I’ve been “brainwashed by the PGA Tour.”
‘We’ve had this really nice back-and-forth and he says that about me.’
McIlroy also pointedly remarked the Tour is fortunate for Norman’s standing in LIV. ‘I think if they had found someone less polarizing, LIV could have made more inroads,’ he said.
McIlroy (L) and Sergio Garcia (R) were once close friends before a spat over LIV Golf occurred
McIlroy’s relationship with longtime friend Sergio Garcia after he crossed the golfing divide.
Once Garcia’s groomsman, the pair have seemingly not spoken since June amidst the Spaniard’s anger at McIlroy’s criticism of LIV.
On the Friday of the Open, McIlroy awoke to a text, he said, where Garcia was ‘basically telling me to shut up about LIV, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.’
‘I was pretty offended and sent him back a couple of daggers and that was it,’ McIlroy said.