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Other SportsMcIlroy understands Hatton's defection to LIV

McIlroy understands Hatton’s defection to LIV

Rory McIlroy says he understands Tyrrell Hatton’s decision to join LIV Golf after speaking to the Englishman on Sunday.

Hatton became the latest player to join the Saudi Arabian-backed breakaway league ahead of the season’s start on Friday, having signed a deal for a reported £50million.

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Presented with that figure – more than twice Hatton’s career earnings on the PGA Tour – McIlroy said it was easy to see why he jumped ship.

The four-time major champion said: “I had a long talk with Tyrrell on Sunday – completely understood where he was coming from.

“It got to the point where they negotiated and got to a place he was comfortable with, and he has to do what he feels is right for him. I’m not going to stand in anyone’s way from making money and what they deem life-changing money.”

The PGA Tour, who today signed a $3billion deal with the Strategic Sports Group, is still negotiating with LIV organisers PIF with regard an agreed calendar that would help shape the future of the game.

McIlroy’s stance on LIV has softened over recent months having initially been an outspoken critic.

He has also changed his opinion on whether LIV players should be allowed to play PGA events, adding: “Life is about choices. Guys made choices to go and play LIV. Guys made choices to stay here.

“It’s hard to punish people. I don’t think there should be a punishment.

“If people still have eligibility on this tour and they want to come back and play or you want to try and do something, let them come back.

“I’ve changed my tune on that because I see where golf is and I see that having a diminished PGA Tour and having a diminished LIV Tour or anything else is bad for both parties.”

In addition to Hatton, LIV have also signed Adrian Meronk and Lucas Herbert.

Pole Meronk won three times on the DP World Tour in 2023 and was named player of the year. However, he will now play for Martin Kaymer’s Cleeks GC.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to the new challenge and next chapter of my career as I team up with Martin and the Cleeks.

“While I appreciate this decision didn’t come easy, joining LIV Golf is a very special moment for my career.

“The 2023 season made me feel that, despite all of my successes, 287 days a year which I spent away from home is too many.

“The LIV schedule gives me more time with my loved ones and more space to work on every aspect of my game.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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