Rory McIlroy softens his stance on Phil Mickelson and players looking to compete in LIV Golf Series, Saudi back | Golf News – NewsRaiser

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Ahead of the PGA Championship, former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy said his attitude towards those wanting to play in the Saudi Golf League had eased and believed the situation had become “toxic”.

Ahead of the PGA Championship, former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy said his attitude towards those wanting to play in the Saudi Golf League had eased and believed the situation had become “toxic”.

Rory McIlroy admits he understands why some players are tempted by the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series and believes Phil Mickelson will be welcomed back into the world of golf.

The PGA Tour has rejected requests from players to attend the inaugural event, which will be held June 9-11 at Centurion Club in England, saying the decision is in the “best interests of the tour and the players”.

Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood were among the players who requested a waiver to play in the competing event, which involves the RBC Canadian Open on the PGA Tour and the Scandinavian Mixed on the DP World Tour.

McIlroy said in February he felt the proposed breakaway league was “dead in the water” after several top players swore allegiance to the PGA Tour, though the former world No. 1 admits he has changed his stance in this one matter has now been mitigated.

Ahead of this week's PGA Championship, check out the top 10 shots ever played at the tournament

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Ahead of this week’s PGA Championship, check out the top 10 shots ever played at the tournament

Ahead of this week’s PGA Championship, check out the top 10 shots ever played at the tournament

“When you’re nearing the end of your career and you’re not guaranteed to play on the PGA Tour next year — it’s hard to keep your card here — and all of a sudden people are giving you the guarantee for the next three or four years, in where I can play, make money, have a job, I totally understand that,” McIlroy said. Sky sports news.

“Yeah, people are going to have a problem with who’s funding it and all that stuff, but at the end of the day, they are [Saudis] stuck in many things and unfortunately however you want to think about it, it’s the way of the world and it won’t change.

Highlights from Rory McIlroy's Dominant Eight-Stroke 2012 PGA Championship win

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Highlights from Rory McIlroy’s Dominant Eight-Stroke 2012 PGA Championship win

Highlights from Rory McIlroy’s Dominant Eight-Stroke 2012 PGA Championship win

“They have a lot of money, they’re going to be involved in a lot of things, and that’s how it is. I certainly don’t want to stop anyone from making more money.

“Like some of those you speak of, my Ryder Cup team-mates, I understand where they’re coming from and I certainly won’t say anything bad about them because they’re friends of mine and have to do what’s right for them.”

The wait for the second men's major of the year is over, with full live coverage of the PGA Championship on Sky Sports Golf in May

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The wait for the second men’s major of the year is over, with full live coverage of the PGA Championship on Sky Sports Golf in May

The wait for the second men’s major of the year is over, with full live coverage of the PGA Championship on Sky Sports Golf in May

The series – directed by Greg Norman – is funded by Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund, which has drawn criticism for huge prize money from a government with a history of alleged human rights abuses.

When asked if his views on possible participation had changed, McIlroy added: “I think at first [the decision not to play] was moral. That [a breakaway series] been swimming for seven or eight years. At this point it’s so toxic for me to talk about it, it’s more about self-preservation. I don’t need to interfere and I won’t interfere.

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“I love being my own boss and I certainly don’t want Greg Norman telling me what to do, where to report what and when to be there! I like doing my thing and being my own boss, and that’s a big part of it.”

Mickelson’s bid to compete in the first event of the LIV Golf Invitational series has come with entries for the PGA Championship and the US Open, although the 51-year-old will not be defending the Wanamaker Trophy this week in Southern Hills.

Claude Harmon III shares his thoughts on Phil Mickelson following his retirement from the PGA Championship, of which he is the defending champion

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Claude Harmon III shares his thoughts on Phil Mickelson following his retirement from the PGA Championship, of which he is the defending champion

Claude Harmon III shares his thoughts on Phil Mickelson following his retirement from the PGA Championship, of which he is the defending champion

The six-time major champion has been on hiatus from golf since the aftermath of his explosive comments on the PGA Tour and Saudi-backed escape led by Norman.

Mickelson’s win at Kiawah Island last May made him the oldest winner of a men’s major championship and McIlroy was disappointed he did not see a competitive return to defending the title.

Rich Beem says he hasn't seen Phil Mickelson withdraw from the US PGA Championship but thinks there are more questions to ask

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Rich Beem says he hasn’t seen Phil Mickelson withdraw from the US PGA Championship but thinks there are more questions to ask

Rich Beem says he hasn’t seen Phil Mickelson withdraw from the US PGA Championship but thinks there are more questions to ask

“He [Mickelson] Made decisions and had to live with some of the consequences,” McIlroy said. Sky sports news. “People can say there was action, but for the most part it was words and I think people can be forgiven for words.

“I went out against him a little bit initially, but my stance has definitely softened over the past few weeks. Phil Mickelson has been a legend in our game for 30 years and I don’t think he should be left out of the game.

Jon Rahm feels that despite his controversial comments and involvement in the LIV Golf International Series, Phil Mickelson's legacy should not be tarnished

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Jon Rahm feels that despite his controversial comments and involvement in the LIV Golf International Series, Phil Mickelson’s legacy should not be tarnished

Jon Rahm feels that despite his controversial comments and involvement in the LIV Golf International Series, Phil Mickelson’s legacy should not be tarnished

“I think every time he comes back maybe he should be a little bit kinder. He said bad things and offended some people but I don’t think that justifies banning him from golf altogether.

“I think he will be welcome and I think a lot of players will be happy to see him again but it will be at his own pace and wherever he decides to resurface. Whether it’s in the US on the PGA Tour or in a few weeks at the LIV in London, that’s his decision and more likely to return where he feels most comfortable.”

Watch the 104th PGA Championship live on Sky Sports all week long. The live broadcast of the opening round begins Thursday at 1 p.m. on Sky Sports Golf.

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