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Golf fans are ‘fatigued’ about ongoing division in the game, says Rory McIlroy

<i>Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images via CNN Newsource</i><br/>Rory McIlroy hits a tee shot at last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images via CNN Newsource
Rory McIlroy hits a tee shot at last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando

By George Ramsay, CNN

(CNN) — Rory McIlroy has said that he is worried golf fans are “fatigued” with the state of the game because of an ongoing divide between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf.

Founded three years ago and financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), LIV Golf has attracted many of the world’s top players with the promise of more pay across fewer events.

The PGA Tour and DP World Tour announced last year that they had come to a surprise reconciliation agreement to partner with the PIF and LIV Golf, but an initial December 31 deadline has been extended into 2024 and the rift in the sport remains.

“Fans are fatigued of what’s going on in the game,” McIlroy said on Wednesday ahead of The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. “I think we need to try to re-engage the fan and re-engage them in a way that the focus is on the play and not on talking about equity and all the rest of it.”

This week, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said that the deal with LIV Golf was “going to take some time” but offered reassurance that talks between the parties are “accelerating.”

McIlroy resigned from his role as a player director on the PGA Tour policy board in November citing “personal and professional commitments.”

On Wednesday, the world No. 2, who has remained on the PGA Tour while many of his rivals have moved to LIV Golf, underlined that he wants an end to the game’s division.

“If I were a fan, I would want to watch the best players compete against each other week in, week out,” he said, adding: “I think if you just unified the game and brought us all back together in some way, that would be great for the fans I would imagine.

“That would then put a positive spin on everything that’s happened here … I think people could get excited about that. I don’t know what that looks like and that seems like it’s probably further away than it should be.”

McIlroy also gave his support to Monahan, saying that golf is in a “far stronger position now than it was before Jay took over.”

This comes after world No. 6 Xander Schauffele said that Monahan has a “long way to go” before gaining the trust of the players.

The Players Championship, the PGA Tour’s richest tournament, gets underway on Thursday at TPC Sawgrass in Florida. It is widely regarded as the game’s most prestigious event outside of the majors with a $25 million prize purse up for grabs.

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