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Rory McIlroy Has Mixed Emotions over PGA-LIV Merger; 'Ultimately Good' for Golf

Tyler Conway

Rory McIlroy isn't happy about the merger between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour, but he told reporters he's "resigned" himself to money being the ultimate driver to professional sports.

"At the end of the day, money talks, and you'd rather have them as a partner," McIlroy said Wednesday.

Even though he's resigned to the merger, there's clearly no love lost between McIlroy and LIV.

"I still hate LIV. I hate them. I hope it goes away and expect that it does," McIlroy said.

McIlroy, who has been outspoken in his defense of the PGA Tour and his dislike of LIV, told reporters it's "hard for me not to sit up here and feel somewhat like a sacrificial lamb" after the merger.

The PGA Tour and LIV Golf announced a shocking merger Tuesday that no one—not even players of McIlroy's caliber—saw coming. PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan had been an outspoken critic of LIV and enlisted superstars like McIlroy and Tiger Woods to defend the sport against the new league.

McIlroy told reporters it's "hard for me not to sit up here and feel somewhat like a sacrificial lamb" after being used as an ardent defender for the PGA Tour, only Monahan to go back on his word and agree to the merger.

"I recognize everything that I've said in the past and my prior positions. I recognize that people are going to call me a hypocrite," Monahan told reporters. "Anytime I said anything, I said it with the information that I had at that moment, and I said it based on someone that's trying to compete for the PGA Tour and our players. I accept those criticisms, but circumstances do change. I think that in looking at the big picture and looking at it this way, that's what got us to this point."

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), which founded LIV, will be the lead investor in the new golf league, which does not currently have a name. It's unclear if the league will keep the PGA branding, though that seems like a strong bet given the value and national cache the brand has among golf fans.

LIV Golf struggled to create an audience despite the PIF funneling hundreds of millions of dollars into the league, poaching some of the game's top stars with nine-figure paydays.

Bryson DeChambeau, who was among the players to defect from the PGA Tour to LIV, told CNN he is a fan of the merger.

"I do feel bad for the PGA Tour players because they were told one thing and something else happened, and our side, we were told one thing and it's come to fruition," DeChambeau said. "It does stink a little bit from my perspective that the PGA Tour players are not necessarily winning. I hope they can find a way to make sure that they are valued in the same way that we are over at LIV. I think that'll happen. It's just going to take some time."


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