Rory McIlroy said on Tuesday that he understood why some older players like Phil Mickelson decided to make the move to the lucrative LIV Golf series but he felt younger competitors who did the same were taking the ‘easy way out’.
Frank Pingue, in Brookline – Rory McIlroy said on Tuesday that he understood why some older players like Phil Mickelson decided to make the move to the lucrative LIV Golf series but he felt younger competitors who did the same were taking the “easy way out”.
McIlroy has been an outspoken critic of the Saudi-funded breakaway circuit – where every golfer in a 48-player field is guaranteed a payday in a no-cut event – but feels those near his age who made the move were using short-term thinking.
“A lot of these guys are in their late 40s. In Phil’s case, early 50s. Yeah, I think everyone in this room and they would say to you themselves that their best days are behind them,” McIlroy, 33, told reporters ahead of this week’s US Open.
“That’s why I don’t understand for the guys that are a similar age to me going because I would like to believe that my best days are still ahead of me, and I think theirs are too. So that’s where it feels like you’re taking the easy way out.”
The four-times major champion also said he is “disappointed” in how Mickelson made his move to LIV Golf but that he still has tremendous respect for the six-times major champion as a golfer.
Mickelson’s public image took a hit in February when the author of an unauthorised biography on him released excerpts from the book in which the American golfer called the Saudis “scary” but said he was willing to look past their human rights records to gain leverage with the PGA Tour.
Mickelson then took a self-imposed hiatus from the sport – even skipping his title defence at the PGA Championship – and only returned last week outside London for the inaugural event on the LIV circuit.
“Who am I to sit up here and give Phil a lesson on how to do things? He has had a wonderful career. He is his own man. He is a great addition to the field this week,” said McIlroy.
“Am I disappointed he has taken the route that he has taken? I am, but I still respect him tremendously.“