Rory McIlroy, yes, will watch a replay.
But, no, he won’t be wearing a Team Majesticks or Fireballs hat or shirt.
“What are the other ones, like Iron Heads? I have no idea, ”McIlroy said. “Certainly not going to buy any team merchandise any time soon.”
Call it a light moment in one of the most peculiar days in the history of professional golf, one that saw the alternative series beginning, unquantified suspensions being served – and the established tour rolling on.
The Saudi-funded LIV Invitational Series started playing Thursday at the Centurion Club in London, and among its field were 17 players with affiliation with the PGA Tour. While the commissioner Jay Monahan said that he was not allowed to do so, he was not allowed to do anything for the players. longer eligible to participate in PGA Tour tournament play. ”
Oh, and Tour golf played Thursday, too – it’s Canadian Open week, and the thought of a Tour tournament going up against the upstart series with Tour players is the meat of all this commotion – and the action at St. George’s in Toronto did not entirely shield players from the other news of the day.
Unsurprisingly, McIlroy and Justin Thomas backed their commish. Two of the Tour’s biggest stars were playing in Canada and not England, after all, and have also been pro-Tour for months.
“I think at this point, Jay’s been pretty transparent in terms of he’s just going to act within the tournament regulations and the rules that are set for a PGA Tour member,” McIlroy said. “All he’s doing is basically going by the book.
“I think the majority of the membership is here this week and that went elsewhere and really appreciated that. So I think he’s done the right thing because of these rules, and because of that, there are going to be consequences, I guess. “
Said Thomas: “I’m pleased. I think nobody has been shocked at the message that Jay and everyone’s been putting out. They took that risk going into it, whether they thought it was risky or not.
“Like I’ve said the whole time, I have great belief and great confidence in the PGA Tour and where we’re going to grow to, and those guys just aren’t going to be a part of it.”
The questions now are speculative.
What’s next? That question was even asked in the Tour’s note – along with “can these players come back” and “can they finally play PGA Tour Champions” – and Monahan wrote there that “we’ll approach them [the questions] in the same way we have all the PGA Tour regulations that you helped establish. ” Notably, LIV itself considered to Monahan’s note with one of its own, saying that it is “vindictive and it deepens the divide between the Tour and its members. … This is definitely not the last word on this topic. ”
Unknown, too, with one day in the books – and seven more events this year – is whether more Tour players join. Earlier in the week, McIlroy believed that the battle would “fracture the game.” On Thursday, Thomas wasn’t sure how things would unfold.
“They’re obviously throwing so much money at people that it’s very hard to turn down,” he said. “I don’t care what you say in terms of people playing for different reasons. It doesn’t matter who you are or what it is; everything has a number. They’re reaching that number for some people, and I hope they don’t get others. But I think it’s very stable and firm in our position, and I hope it stays that way. ”
Then there is the potential awkwardness between Tour players and LIV players; will be in attendance next week at the US Open after the USGA announced on Tuesday that it would not be playing in the Saudi series. Earlier this week, though, Thomas said he wouldn’t expect to treat players differently – “I don’t dislike DJ [Dustin Johnson] now. I don’t think he’s a bad dude. I’m not going to treat him any differently. It’s like he’s entitled to choose what he wants – and he’s stuck with that theme on Thursday.
“I saw a DJ last week at home, and it was fine,” Thomas said. “I would say a lot of guys, myself included, aren’t at a US Open to socialize. I’m not there to have a conversation and catch up. I’m sure it will be awkward. When I saw a DJ last week, I didn’t know what to say, if he was a congrats or a bye or whatever it was.
“It is what it is. I think we’re all grown-ups, and we understand there’s going to be some guys you can make some jokes to and some guys you have to leave it alone, but in the end, we’re all there to win a major. ”
But that’s next week’s concern. And this week is still another question.
Would McIlroy watch LIV events?
“I think like everyone else, I’m intrigued and I’m a fan of golf,” he said. “I’ve got quite a few guys over there that I call friends that are playing. Yeah, of course I’ll see it and watch it and see what all the fuss is about. ”
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