Golf is so much more fun when the players are petty. From Ryder Cup shenanigans to guys getting pissed about pace of play, the game is infinitely more entertaining when there’s a clearly defined heel who fans can collectively hate. That’s why the past year-plus of golf was great television.
However, the impending (stalled-out?) merger of the Saudi Public Investment Fund and the PGA Tour is homogenizing the callousness of “businessmen” across the leaderboard. The latest fervently anti-LIV golfer to roll over was arguably the most outsized voice against defectors: Rory McIlroy.
“I was maybe a little judgmental of the guys who went to LIV Golf at the start,” McIlroy said on Gary Neville’s podcast, The Overlap. “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.”
For those of us hoping McIlroy would hold strong/stay petty, it’s a disappointment, but far from a surprise. Once you see a supposed ally in Jon Rahm become a $600-million bargaining chip it’s hard to blame them — I guess.
“I thought it was a smart business move from Jon – it’s opportunistic. I think he sees that things will come back together and he’s in a lucky position, McIlroy said. “There’s not one person that wouldn’t want him on our Ryder Cup team because of how good he is, so he was in a great position where there wasn’t a ton of risk involved for him to go. I’ve got no problem with him going if that’s what he wants to do and he thinks that’s the right decision for him and his family. Who am I to say any different at this point?”
Ah, yes, empathy for the pro athlete who can now feed his family for eight, nine generations, all from an ability to hit a ball. Call me a cynic (guilty), but could McIlroy simply be saving face because he’s about to share a locker room with a litany of goons that he’s been (rightfully) skewering over the past 16 months?
“I wouldn’t say I’ve lost the fight against LIV,” said McIlroy. “But I’ve just accepted the fact that this is part of our sport now.”
It’s not a coincidence that acceptance is the final grieving stage. Boy, I can’t wait for an onslaught of golf fans to paraphrase that talking point from now until climate change kills off all the grass on earth.
Of McIlroy’s myriad profound (profane?) utterances during his mea culpa, this next one was my favorite.
“I’ve gone through the last two years with this altruistic approach where I’ve looked at the world the way I’ve wanted to see it. Ultimately, you can say what you want and do what you want, but at the end of the day, you’re not going to be able to change people’s minds. You’re never going to make them decide based on what you say.”
God dammit, if that’s not what I try to do literally every day at this job. What I do is on a far lesser scale, with a lot less exposure, for pennies compared to Rory, yet to say that you’re not going to do what’s right because it doesn’t make a difference is completely defeatist and some crap a despot would proclaim.
Give in, give up, what’s the point? And, hey, blood money “exposed the flaws in the system of golf” so it can’t be all bad, right? You know you’ve done something indefensible when Phil Mickelson defends you.
“This quote and the many others made today by Rory probably weren’t easy to say,” Mickelson tweeted Wednesday. “Let’s not use this as an opportunity to pile on. Rather, it’s time for me and others to let go of our hostilities and work toward a positive future.”
You know what? Lefty is . . . still a complete moron. Yes, bask in the ever-growing bank accounts and sing Kumbaya while innocent journalists get cut to pieces and the women of Saudi Arabia live a life that’s centuries behind the rest of the world’s female population.
Screw you, Rory.