Rory McIlroy admits attitude of LIV Golf’s ‘sour 16’ is fuelling resentment

Rory McIlroy admits the legal action taken by ‘sour 16’ Saudi-backed LIV Golf defectors against their ban from Scottish Open has fuelled resentment in the locker room, as Northern Irish star slams their ‘whole having your cake and eating it’ attitude

  • Ian Poulter and two other LIV Golf players will take part in the Scottish Open
  • The trio made a succesful appeal against their suspensions to Sport Resolutions
  • Rory McIlroy revealed the decision has caused resentment among other golfers 

Rory McIlroy has blasted LIV Golf rebels for their ‘having your cake and eating it’ attitude that has seen them file legal action against the DP World Tour. 

Ian Poulter is among three golfers to defect to the new Saudi-backed breakaway tour who have successfully appealed their suspensions from the Scottish Open this week. 

The decision was handed down by Sport Resolutions (UK) and upheld the appeal made by Poulter, Adrian Otaegui and Justin Harding against their ban from the event and two further co-sanctioned tournaments with the PGA Tour, and their individual fines of £100,000. 

The trio were part of a group of 16 that had threatened legal action for the sanctions imposed against them, a move that led DP World Tour chief Keith Pelley to release an excoriating statement slamming the defectors. 

And McIlroy admits that the sentiments echoed on high have made their way into the lockerroom too at the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor this week.

‘I think at this stage, if you go over and play on a different tour, then go over and play on a different tour,’ he said in an interview with BBC Sport. 

Rory McIlroy has admitted their is resentment building towards the LIV Golf defectors

You’re sort of basically leaving all your peers behind to go make more money, which is fine. But just go over there. Don’t try and come back and play over here again. 

‘This whole having your cake and eating it type thing is what the resentment [stems from] within the [PGA and DP World Tour] membership.

‘I understand why guys have went. Especially the guys who are in the latter stages of their career, and if I was in their position I’d seriously have to think about doing the same thing, like I understand.

‘It’s the younger guys to me that it’s hard to understand because I feel like they’re losing a few years of their competitive career for monetary reasons.’

The Northern Ireland international has been playing at the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor

The Northern Ireland international has been playing at the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor

McIlroy’s view was reinforced by American Billy Horschel, who was dismissive of the complaints of his fellow golfers who had jumped ship. 

While insisting he bears no ill feelings towards those who moved, the American, speaking ahead of the Scottish Open, said: ‘To say that they wanted to also support this tour, whether the DP or PGA Tour, while playing the LIV tour, is completely asinine. Those guys made their bed. They say that’s what they want to do, so leave us alone.

‘They keep talking about how the PGA Tour doesn’t listen. I’ve been really frustrated by it because there’s a lot of guys that are hypocrites, that aren’t telling the truth and are lying.

‘I just can’t stand to sit here any more and be diplomatic about it.’

Ian Poulter is among three LIV Golf players to have his suspension overturned this week

Ian Poulter is among three LIV Golf players to have his suspension overturned this week

Graeme McDowell, one of those to have defected to the LIV Golf series, admitted his own distress at some of the headlines he has received following his decision to join the cash-rich tour.   

‘The hardest thing for me the last three or four weeks is the negative fallout and being linked to comments, where all you’re trying to do is say the right things and do the right thing for a golf organisation that are giving us a phenomenal opportunity,’ McDowell told the Irish Independent.

‘All the tenuous links to the things that these guys have allegedly done when we know that the links are, like I say, tenuous at best. It doesn’t mean everyone in Saudi Arabia is a bad person.’

Graeme McDowell has voiced his upset at the abuse he has received since defecting to LIV

Graeme McDowell has voiced his upset at the abuse he has received since defecting to LIV

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