What Rory McIlroy wants accomplished in PGA Tour meeting with PIF

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Rory McIlroy, who recently resigned from his PGA Tour’s player-director position, said Sunday he “welcomes” the Monday meeting between tour players and Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia that runs LIV Golf.

“Absolutely, I think it should have happened months ago, so I am glad that it’s happening,” McIlroy said of the meeting, which is reportedly taking place on Monday at a private home near TPC Sawgrass. “Hopefully, that progresses conversations and gets us closer to a solution.”

Asked if he believes Tiger Woods, who did not play the Players this week, needs to be involved in the meeting, McIlroy said, “I mean, he’s a player-director, he’s on the board, so absolutely he needs to be involved.’’

Rory McIlroy is optimistic for talks between PGA Tour and PIF. Getty Images

Asked what he believes the message of Al-Rumayyan should be in the meeting, McIlroy said, “That fundamentally he wants to do the right thing. I have spent time with Yasir and the people that have represented him in LIV I think have done him a disservice, to [LIV CEO Greg] Norman and those guys.

“I see the two entities, and I think there’s a really big disconnect between PIF and LIV,” McIlroy went on. “I think you got PIF over here and LIV are sort of over here doing their own thing. So, the closer that we can get to Yasir, PIF and hopefully finalize that investment, I think that will be a really good thing.”

McIlroy was asked if, when he spoke to Yasir, he sensed a “bigger-picture view” than what’s taking place at LIV Golf right now.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I think there’s a way to incorporate … they’re big on team golf and they want to see team golf survive in some way in the calendar. I don’t think it has to necessarily look like LIV. I think in my mind, you should leave the individual golf and then you play your team golf on the sort of periphery of that.

“But it’s going to require patience. People have contracts at LIV up until 2028, 2029. I don’t know if they’re going to see that all the way out, but I definitely see LIV playing in its current form for the next couple years anyway while everything gets figured out.

Yasir Al-Rumayyan is the governor of PIF. REUTERS

“I don’t think this is an overnight solution, but if we can get the investment [from LIV], then at least we can start working towards a compromise where we’re not going to make everyone happy, but at least make everyone understand why we’re doing what we’re doing.’’

Sam Ryder didn’t win the Players Championship on Sunday, but he had quite a week at TPC Sawgrass.

Ryder broke the tournament record for most birdies in the tournament with 27, besting the previous record by one.

Ryder, who ended up shooting 69 Sunday and 10-under for the week, was scorching hot early in his round — 7-under-par in his first 11 holes. But a double bogey on No. 13 derailed his run up the leaderboard.

Sam Ryder had the most birdies at the Players Championship. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

“Honestly, it’s hard to believe, because these guys, because these guys are making a lot of birdies,’’ Ryder said. “That just goes to show it was an emotional roller coaster, but it’s cool. It’s always cool to have a record. Right now, I just walked off the course, so it’s hard to be too happy about it, but it’s cool.’’

McIlroy, who had an up-and-down week as he finished 9-under, said he feels he made “a little bit of progress from this time last Sunday at the Arnold Palmer,’’ adding, “Yeah, it’s there.’’

McIlroy shot 7-under 65 in the opening round and never was able to continue his run.

“After the first round, my expectations sort of went sky high because I was like, ‘Oh, I think I’ve figured it out.’ Then the last three days were a little bit more of a struggle. But I think I’m headed in the right direction.’’

McIlroy revealed that he may visit Augusta for an early Masters practice session “on the way to San Antonio’’ for the Valero Texas Open before the Masters.

“I might head up there on the Monday and play and then head to San Antonio,” McIlroy said. “In terms of like preparation for the week and actually getting into the mindset I need to get into. So maybe a quick pit stop on the way to San Antonio to play a practice round and spend some time, but nothing planned as of yet.’’

McIlroy hasn’t won a major championship since the 2014 PGA Championship.

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