Rory pleads for golf peace before attack on Masters crown

Henry

Northern Irish golf star Rory McIlroy has been pleading for peace between the PGA and LIV series lately.

And the game’s second-best player (according to the latest world rankings) says golf needs to spread its wings properly. McIlroy believes that a real world series that includes several national Opens and the four Majors is the route that must be followed in the effort to see the very best players again on the same stage in action.

Among the national Open tournaments that McIlroy would like to include in such a new world series of around 22 tournaments for the game’s top 70 players is also the SA Open. Next to the British Open, it is the oldest Open tournament in the world and was presented for the first time in 1903.

According to McIlroy, the Irish, Scottish, Canadian and Australian Open are also on his list, which must be part of a global program that must look to also involve countries and territories such as Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.

“There are so many untapped markets that need to be tapped into to really grow the game.

“It is time for peace between the PGA and LIV series and the way forward is a real world series where the top 70 or maybe top 100 players play in about 22 tournaments all over the world.

“The 22 tournaments will include the four Majors and four or five prestigious Opens, with the rest of the tournaments in America.

“Corporate America and the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) both need to be involved in developing the game.

“The PGA Series’ income is currently $2.3 billion (about R43 billion) per year. It needs to be moved up to between $4 billion and $6 billion and the only way to do that is to exploit new markets from around the world,” says McIlroy.

The 34-year-old four-time Major champion begins his new season this week with his appearance in the Dubai Invitational tournament, which starts on Thursday at the Dubai Creek course.

Next week McIlroy defends his Desert Classic title which means he will spend two weeks in the Middle East.

“I like Dubai and lived here for four years before I got married.

“Two weeks in Dubai is the perfect chance to hone in on a new season that will hopefully be successful,” says McIlroy, whose golf arsenal this week includes a new fairway, a new three-wood, a new five-wood and a new iron.

The native of Holywood near Belfast in Northern Ireland also has other plans this year which he hopes will secure him an American Masters title.

“My head is clear and I can think clearly these days and focus on golf and not on all the politics that hamper the game. Therefore, I changed my preparation program for the Masters. Augusta will be my ninth or tenth tournament this year where in the past it was the sixth or seventh.

“So hopefully I’ll be sharper in April when the Masters is played. I definitely want a green winner’s jacket in my closet and want to win and earn it. That’s my goal this year,” says McIlroy.

With a victory at Augusta, he will become only the sixth player to win all four Major titles. The last player to do it was Tiger Woods in 2000. Before that, Gene Sarazen (1935), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1964) and Jack Nicklaus (1966) accomplished the so-called Grand Slam.

The Dubai Invitational is the first of five consecutive tournaments in the DP World Series to be decided in the Middle East. The European series returns to Africa at the end of next month for the Kenya Open in Nairobi and two tournaments after that in March in South Africa.

  • Additional information: Golf Digest