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Rory McIlroy Calls Out PGA Tour Defectors

  • The World No. 3 said young players who joined the LIV Golf Invitational Series took “the easy way out.”
  • Massive paydays have enticed 20 golfers to break ranks with the PGA Tour.
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Rory McIlroy has some choice words for the players who defected from the PGA Tour to the LIV Golf Invitational Series. 

The World No. 3 said the 20 golfers, including marquee names Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, and Phil Mickelson, among others, took “the easy way out” and “have to live with” their decisions to join the Saudi-backed breakout league.

“They all have the choice to play where they want to play, and they’ve made their decision,” McIlroy told reporters at a news conference Tuesday ahead of this week’s U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. “My dad said to me a long time ago, ‘Once you make your bed, you lie in it,’ and they’ve made their bed. That’s their decision, and they have to live with that.”

The lure of LIV’s massive paydays — including bonuses in the hundreds of millions just to join and $25 million purses for each of the seven events — have influenced players breaking ranks from the PGA Tour.

McIlroy pocketed $1.6 million for winning the RBC Canadian Open last weekend, but Charl Schwartzel took home $4.75 million for coming out on top of the LIV’s inaugural tournament in London.

The 33-year-old McIlroy said he understands why older players — including the 51-year-old Mickelson — made the move, but not golfers still in their prime.

“I would like to believe that my best days are still ahead of me, and I think theirs are, too,” McIlroy said. “So that’s where it feels like you’re taking the easy way out.”

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