McIlroy: "People'll watch golf 4 weeks a year"

The golf world is currently facing a complex situation, with two major circuits - the PGA Tour and LIV - competing against each other, leaving fans caught in the middle

by Andrea Gussoni
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McIlroy: "People'll watch golf 4 weeks a year"
© Brennan Asplen/Getty Images Sport

The golf world is currently facing a complex situation, with two major circuits - the PGA Tour and LIV - competing against each other, leaving fans caught in the middle. They won't be able to see all the stars together until the major tournaments arrive.

It's essentially a business showdown in which the athletes, the true protagonists, have chosen their sides. This year, not even The Players Championship, often referred to as the fifth major, has been spared from the absence of some of the world's top players.

This is disappointing, especially when PGA and LIV should ideally reach some understanding. The absence of any Spanish players is particularly concerning, as The Players provides an unparalleled showcase for the sport.

Rory McIlroy, results

Specifically, the PGA Tour is touting the renewal of its circuit for this historic tournament, thanks to the influx of new talent.

22 players are making their debut at the legendary TPC Sawgrass, including Ryder Cup players like Ludvig Åberg and Nicolai Højgaard, as well as new Tour winners such as Matthieu Pavon, Jake Knapp, Austin Eckroat, and Nick Dunlap.

Additionally, we have Akshay Bhatia, the winner of the 2023 Barracuda Championship, as another major addition. In addition to these newcomers, heavyweight contenders like Scottie Scheffler, the defending champion, who comes into the tournament after his victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, will be present.

Rory McIlory, who was most vocal against LIV, has been advocating for a change in the landscape for some time now, expressing concern that "fans are losing interest." "I don't think there's a quick fix," Rory commented to BBC Sport.

"We need to find a solution where we can bring together the best players week after week," insisted the Northern Irishman. Regarding the absence of players like Rahm, Koepka, Niemann, Sergio García, Dustin Johnson, and DeChambeau from tournaments like The Players, the world number 2 believes it's not the right direction: "It's the most important tournament outside of the majors, and you don't have the world's best players here, it's a shame." However, his concern goes beyond this: "I think people will tune into golf for four weeks a year for the majors, but I would like to think that golf can be more relevant than just four weeks a year, so the sooner we resolve this, the better for everyone." Undoubtedly, a good agreement would be beneficial for all, but that doesn't diminish the fact that The Players remains a top-notch tournament.

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