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Other SportsMcIlroy tells feuding PGA and LIV tours to learn from Northern Ireland...

McIlroy tells feuding PGA and LIV tours to learn from Northern Ireland peace process

Rory McIlroy has called on the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to take inspiration from the Northern Ireland peace process and reach a compromise which allows the sport to thrive again.

A bitter dispute has split the world of golf in two since LIV Golf held its first events in 2022, using the financial power of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund to prise big names away from the PGA.

Last June, the two parties agreed to pursue a merger with a deadline of December 31 for a final agreement to be struck, but that date came and went with no further announcement.

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The LIV circuit has continued to recruit leading players in recent months, with December’s swoop for two-time major champion Jon Rahm perhaps the biggest coup yet for the breakaway tour.

McIlroy – who has been a staunch critic of LIV – has called on the two parties to use the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which brought peace to his native Northern Ireland, as inspiration.

“I liken it to when Northern Ireland went through the peace process in the ’90s and the Good Friday Agreement. Neither side was happy,” McIlroy said ahead of this week’s Wells Fargo Championship.

“Catholics weren’t happy, Protestants weren’t happy, but it brought peace and then you just sort of learn to live with whatever has been negotiated, right?

“That was in 1998, and 20, 25, 30 years ahead, my generation doesn’t know any different. It’s just this is what it’s always been like, and we’ve never known anything but peace.

“That’s my way of trying to think about it and trying to make both sides see that there could be a compromise here.

“It’s probably not going to feel great for either side, but if it’s a place where the game of golf starts to thrive again and we can all get back together, then I think that’s ultimately a really good thing.”

While McIlroy is keen for a resolution to be found, he will not return to the PGA Tour policy board – which he left in November 2023 – in a bid to directly influence the talks.

“It just got pretty complicated and pretty messy,” McIlroy said of his time on the board. “With the way it happened, it opened up some wounds and scar tissue from things that have happened before.

“I think there was a subset of people on the board who were uncomfortable with me coming back on for some reason. I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing.”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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