McIlroy: I’d retire before playing for LIV Golf

Rory McIlroy: Wouldn’t play LIV Golf if last option on Earth


McIlroy’s huge tee shot leads to an eagle on 600yrd hole (1:03)

Rory McIlroy sinks a stunning eagle to take the overall lead at the Scottish Open. (1:03)

  • Mark Schlabach, ESPN Senior WriterJul 13, 2023, 09:07 AM ET


    • Senior college football writer
    • Author of seven books on college football
    • Graduate of the University of Georgia

If Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund had had its way, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy would have partially owned and captained teams in the LIV Golf League once the PGA Tour and DP World Tour joined forces with the nearly $800 billion sovereign wealth fund.

It doesn’t sound as if McIlroy, the third-ranked player in the world, would have been interested.

“If LIV Golf was the last place to play golf on Earth, I would retire. That’s how I feel about it,” McIlroy told reporters after the first round of the Scottish Open on Thursday. “I’d play the majors, but I’d be pretty comfortable.”

The possibility of McIlroy and Woods owning teams was introduced by PIF advisers during a slideshow presentation to PGA Tour policy board chairman Ed Herlihy and independent director Jimmy Dunne, two days after they met April 23-24 with PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan in London.

The slideshow presentation was among the records released by the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which held a hearing on the proposed alliance Tuesday.

A PGA Tour official told ESPN on Tuesday that the tour quickly rejected the idea of McIlroy and Woods joining LIV Golf.

The records also included emails that suggested that McIlroy met with Al-Rumayyan in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in November. At last month’s Canadian Open, McIlroy said he had previously played golf with Al-Rumayyan at a pro-am in Dubai.

“I was with him at a Formula One race randomly a couple years ago in Austin,” McIlroy said. “I saw him in Dubai at the end of last year. So he’s obviously been in and around the golf world and obviously the wider sports world. He runs in the same circles as a lot of people that I know.”