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McIlroy backs PIF-PGA Tour meeting: ‘Should have happened months ago’

Rory McIlroy has welcomed the news that a group of PGA Tour players will meet officials from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund on Monday as efforts continue to make a deal to end golf’s civil war.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan revealed earlier this week that he had met with PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan in January and the Tour’s six player-directors are now about to follow suit.

“I think it should have happened months ago, so I am glad that it’s happening,” McIlroy said after his final-round 72 at The Players. “Hopefully that progresses conversations and gets us closer to a solution.”

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A look back on how Rory McIlroy’s stance on LIV Golf appears to have changed over the course of the last two years.

Asked what he hopes the players take away from the meeting with Al-Rumayyan, McIlroy added: “That fundamentally he wants to do the right thing. I think I’ve said this before, I have spent time with Yasir and the people that have represented him in LIV I think have done him a disservice, so [Greg] Norman and those guys.

“I actually think there’s a really big disconnect between PIF and LIV. I think you got PIF over here and LIV are sort of over here doing their own thing. So the closer that we can get to Yasir, PIF and hopefully finalise that investment, I think that will be a really good thing.

Image: Rory McIlroy finished tied-19th at The Players after a level-par 72 on the final day

“They’re a sovereign wealth fund. They want to park money for decades and not worry about it. They want to invest in smart and secure businesses, and the PGA Tour is definitely one of those, especially if they’re looking to invest in sport in some way.

“But, again, it’s going to require patience. People have contracts at LIV up until 2028, 2029. I don’t know if they’re going to see that all the way out, but I definitely see LIV playing in its current form for the next couple years anyway while everything gets figured out.

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When questioned about comments made by his former agent, Chubby Chandler, suggesting a move to LIV Golf could still be impossible, Rory McIlroy kept his cards close to his chest.

“I don’t think this is an overnight solution, but if we can get the investment in, then at least we can start working towards a compromise where we’re not going to make everyone happy, but at least make everyone understand why we’re doing what we’re doing.”

Who could attend the meeting?

Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott said the player directors on the PGA Tour policy board – which also includes Patrick Cantlay, Peter Malnati, Webb Simpson and Tiger Woods – are being encouraged to meet with the PIF, although it has not been confirmed whether all will attend.

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Tiger Woods says they are exploring pathways back for players who left the PGA Tour for LIV Golf on a daily basis.

“I’m not sure, that I can say much more other than we’re being encouraged to, potentially meet with them,” Spieth said on Friday. “But at the same time, we, you know, we probably feel like our membership should know, timing and what what could happen.

“Just in general, maybe it’s just immediate and, you think, you know, there’s not a whole lot more I can say about that, but we are being encouraged, obviously, which I think is probably a good thing that the entire board should if there’s going to be any potential for a negotiation.”

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Billy Horschel has urged the PGA Tour to let LIV golfers back into the The Players Championship so it can still be seen as one of the world’s best tournaments.

Speaking about what he expects from the meeting, Cantlay said: “I don’t imagine anything substantive. It’s more of a meet and greet.”

Monahan was vague on details when asked about the topic in his pre-tournament press conference ahead of The Players, saying he couldn’t discuss publicly what was going on in the private dealings.

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Eamon Lynch says Jay Monahan was far from expansive in his press conference discussing some of the issues regarding the PGA tour.

“Our negotiations are accelerating as we spend time together,” said Monahan, who met with Al-Rumayyan in January.

“While we have several key issues that we still need to work through, we have a shared vision to quiet the noise and unlock golf’s worldwide potential. I see a positive outcome for the PGA Tour and the sport as a whole.”

The PGA Tour season stays in Florida for the Valspar Championship, with early action live on Thursday from 11.30am on Sky Sports Golf and full coverage beginning at 6pm. The men’s major season begins with The Masters from April 11-14, also exclusively live. Stream the PGA Tour and more with NOW.

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