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Apr 3, 2024 1:57 pm

LIV stars back Rory McIlroy: Unification must ‘happen fast’

Bryson DeChambeau

LIV stars Bryson DeChambeau and Jon Rahm said Wednesday they agree with the sentiments of Rory McIlory that the divide between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf League is not sustainable.

In fact, DeChambeau went so far as to say that reunification has to happen sooner rather than later — the risk is losing fans.

“And it needs to happen fast. It’s not a two-year thing. Like it needs to happen quicker rather than later just for the good of the sport. Too many people are losing interest,” DeChambeau said at LIV’s pre-tournament news conference at Trump National Doral in Miami.

McIlroy said in an interview published Tuesday that “there needs to be a correction,” telling Golf Magazine that “what’s happening is not sustainable right now.”

“I think I agree with that statement,” Rahm said Wednesday.

“I think there’s room for both. It’s as simple as that,” Rahm continued. “I think we have the opportunity to end up with an even better product for the spectators and the fans of the game, a little bit more variety doesn’t really hurt anybody. … I think properly done, we can end up with a much better product that can take golf to the next level worldwide, and I’m hoping that’s what ends up happening.”

Phil Mickelson, an LIV Golf pioneer who kicked off a ripple effect of golfers jumping tours, said the tours are “in a transitional state where we now have competition and that’s leading to a lot of disruption and change.”

“But at some point when it gets ironed out, I think it’s going to be in a much better place where we bring the best players from the world, and it’s going to open up more opportunities for manufacturing, course design, for players in different parts of the world to be inspired and enter the game. I think it’s going to be in a much better place,” Mickelson added.

It is unclear when or whether the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which finances LIV, will finalize their “framework agreement” from last June after a self-imposed Dec. 31 deadline came and went. Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and policy board members — including Tiger Woods — met with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, PIF governor, in the Bahamas on March 18.

Whatever is going to happen, DeChambeau said it needs to happen with urgency.

“The fans are what drive this sport,” DeChambeau said. “If we don’t have fans, we don’t have golf. We are not up here entertaining. That’s the most important thing as of right now — the low-hanging fruit. There’s got to be a way to come together.”

–Field Level Media

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