Greg Norman, the CEO of LIV Golf, said he is grateful to Rory McIlroy for taking a step toward acceptance of the fledgling tour.
McIlroy has been one of LIV’s harshest critics, but on the “Stick to Football” podcast on Tuesday, McIlroy conceded to being overly “judgmental of the guys who went to LIV Golf at the start.”
“I’ve got to be honest with you, I’m very appreciative of what Rory said,” Norman said on the LIV Golf Podcast. “It’s been a painful couple of years.
“The reason I say I appreciate Rory to fall on his sword to some degree is the fact that he did judge us by not knowing the facts. He judged us on other people’s thoughts and opinions. I say, ‘Hey, thank you Rory’. This is a significant turning point for everybody.”
Phil Mickelson, one of the early defectors to LIV Golf, also acknowledged McIlroy’s new stance, saying on social media this week: “It’s time for me and others to let go of our hostilities and work towards a positive future.”
McIlroy, a four-time major champion, blasted PGA Tour members who jumped ship for the financially greener pastures of LIV for “betrayal” and accusing them of “tearing the game apart.”
“I think it was a bit of a mistake on my part because I now realize that not everyone is in my position or in Tiger Woods’ position,” McIlroy said on the podcast.
“We all turn professional to make a living playing the sports that we do, and I think that’s what I realized over the last two years. I can’t judge people for making that decision,” he added.
Meanwhile, the PGA Tour is continuing negotiations to finalize an alliance with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which bankrolls LIV. The deadline was Dec. 31 before it was extended.
The PGA Tour revealed a so-called framework agreement to merge interests with the PIF, which finances LIV Golf, in a surprise announcement on June 6.
A news release posted to the PGA Tour’s website over the weekend said the tour’s goal was to bring on the PIF, Strategic Sports Group and the DP World Tour (formerly the European Tour) as minority co-investors in PGA Tour Enterprises — the tour’s new for-profit organization — in 2024.