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teed off ‘It’s a money grab’ - Rory McIlroy lashes out against Saudi-backed Super Golf League

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Rory McIlroy: 'I’m playing this game to try to cement my place in history and my legacy and to win Major championships.'

Rory McIlroy: 'I’m playing this game to try to cement my place in history and my legacy and to win Major championships.'

Rory McIlroy: 'I’m playing this game to try to cement my place in history and my legacy and to win Major championships.'

Rory McIlroy yesterday doubled down on his belief that the Saudi-backed Super Golf League is an ugly “money grab” and backed threats by the PGA Tour and the European Tour to potentially ban the rebels who sign up. 

First approached about a breakaway tour seven years ago, the four-time Major champion (32) insisted he wants no part of the new Saudi-backed scheme with reports suggesting players such as Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson had been offered as much as $30 million (€25m) to sign up.

“Go back to what happened last week in Europe with the European Super League in football,” McIlroy said. “People can see it for what it is, which is a money grab, which is fine if that’s what you’re playing golf for is to make as much money as possible. Totally fine, then go and do that if that’s what makes you happy.

“But I think the top players in the game, I’m just speaking my own personal beliefs, like I’m playing this game to try to cement my place in history and my legacy and to win Major championships and to win the biggest tournaments in the world. That’s why I’m playing this game.”

Both the European Tour and the PGA Tour have come out strongly against the proposed new tour.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan told a player meeting on Tuesday that anyone joining the Saudi-backed golf league will face immediate suspension and possible expulsion from the PGA Tour.

His European Tour counterpart Keith Pelley backed him, adding: “We are aligned with the PGA Tour in opposing, in the strongest possible terms, any proposal for an alternative golf league. Since the launch of our strategic alliance last November, our two organisations have been working together to make global golf less fractured and not create further division, with the interests of all players and fans at the forefront of our thinking.”

McIlroy has refused to accept appearance money to play in Saudi Arabia and feels the same about the Super Golf League. Speaking ahead of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow, he said: “I think you all know my feelings on it and I’m very much against it. I don’t see why anyone would be for it.

“Look, you saw what happened last week in the UK and in Europe with the European Super League. The top 12 clubs got together and said, ‘Let’s keep more of the money for ourselves’ and people didn’t like that.

“It affects competition, it affects the integrity of competition. I just can’t see how it works.

“The game of golf, whether it’s a right thing or a wrong thing, is so about history. We still talk about Gene Sarazen and Walter Hagen and Ben Hogan and all those guys because that’s what this game is.

“It’s steeped in history and the legacies that those guys have. If you move further away from that, you’re basically losing the essence of what competitive golf is. That’s my stance and that’s been my stance for a long time. I just can’t see how it happens.”

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